Film Drama. Theatre release April 2005. Paramount Pictures Classics
Cast features Anthony LaPaglia, Allison Janney, Aaron Stanford, Mark
Webber, Michelle Monaghan, Ron Livingston, Brendan Sexton III.
Written and Directed by Josh Sternfeld.
(Anthony LaPaglia) takes comfort in familiar rhythms: conducting his suburban landscaping
business, sharing daily tasks and family rituals with his two sons Gabe (Aaron Stanford)
and Pete (Mark Webber), watching out for their welfare as parents do. The
loss of his wife, their mother, in an auto accident five years earlier, has been change enough.
But this spring there are signs of a thaw in the frozen rounds of Jim's life, and the film follows the Winters' first and sometimes painful steps toward uncertain renewals as individuals and as a family. Jim meets and is attracted to a new neighbor, Molly Ripkin (Allison Janney). She wants to redirect her life, and as they talk, he begins to reexamine his own. At the same time, his sons, trapped throughout their adolescence in a family stunned by grief, struggle to free themselves from parents, dead and alive, that they love and respect. Gabe 22, suddenly announces he is moving to Florida. Pete, 17, who lets his anger direct
him as it randomly chooses, becomes intrigued during summer classes by a history teacher
(played by Ron Livingston) who does not seem to follow the usual rules of The American High School. Something mysteriously clicks, and Pete is surprised into actual engagement in classroom work. Directed by Josh Sternfeld. Principal cast also includes Michelle Monaghan as Gabe's girlfriend
Stacey and Brendan Sexton III as Pete's best friend Robbie. A Sound Pictures production.
Story...is distinguished by its emotional integrity, sustained mood of aching
melancholy and superbly understated performances. ...LaPaglia's restrained turn easily stands
alongside his impressive work in Lantana, while Stanford (Tadpole) and Webber
convey damage and vulnerability with subtle strokes. Both actors are well served by Sternfeld's
sharp ear for dialogue and his grasp of the awkward surliness and reticence of youth. --David
Rooney in Variety