Could this film honestly get any more depressing!!??!
Distraught after the disappearance of his estranged wife, Quoyle (Kevin Spacey) and his daughter move into their ancestral home with his long-lost aunt (Judi Dench) in Newfoundland, where life is rough and secrets are buried deep. When Quoyle lands a job as a reporter for the local newspaper, a past emerges, a mystery unfolds and life awakens.
So basically the way this film starts out is with a big promise. As usual, Spacey is playing the loser without a cause, and looks like this may actually be one of those tragic comedies, but then soon dives right into some upsetting and boring material.
The film is a relentless usage of total coincidences: births, deaths, rapes, murders, and disappearances. It felt like all these little happenings were just put into the film for when suddenly the protagonist came back into town.
I liked the little scenes that were inside the Shipping News paper office. Those scenes actually where the heart of this story was at, and it had a lot of comedy and feeling to these scenes that actually made the film worth watching.
The problem is with this film is that they don’t go with any of these scenes and dive right into boring ass depression crap. I mean honestly there are so many times that this film just was acting bleak and sad, just be bleak and sad. There really served no purpose. A lot of the major themes of Spacey’s character on whether or not he could actually overcome his shyness were never quite answered at the end of the film. Director Lasse Hallström usually makes these lavish, dramas but here fails at bringing any of the core emotions to the screen.
Spacey with all his might gives it all in this film. He is playing such a different and shy character that a lot of the scenes he is carrying. Julianne Moore’s accent was not very believable, and at times I found her to actually be quite annoying when on-screen. The best here is Judi Dench who at such an old age really does bring out her acting chops, and I found many of the scenes with her and Spacey were the best and should have had more of them.
Consensus: The Shipping News has some bright scenes and strong performances, but fails mostly due to its bleakness of the subject material, over-bearing coincidences, and overall way of making the viewers themselves utterly depressed.