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Review: Win Win

Posted March 30, 2011 by Max in Review


“Do whatever the f*ck it takes”

That is a line that sums up the events of ‘Win Win’ nicely. Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti) is a lawyer in a dying practice. The place he works at is about to explode and he is unable to pay someone to take the tree in front of his house down. This is topped off by a pathetic group of kids that he coaches wrestling to for the local school.

Flaherty is running out of money fast and stumbles on a way to make some extra money for his family. He decides to be the legal guardian for one of his clients and he will receive payment for taking care of him. Flaherty makes the court believe he will be living with his client, but Flaherty sends the man to an elderly home and will illegally accept the payment.

When Flaherty is returning to the client’s old residence, he finds Kyle (Alex Shaffer), client’s grandson, at the doorstep. Flaherty decides he will take Kyle in until he can get in touch with Kyle’s mother. After one of his clients leaves and the panic of his financial situation. What Flaherty doesn’t understand yet, is that Kyle will bring an exciting change to his life.


‘Win Win’ may seem like its riding on the coat tails of ‘The Blind Side’. A similar story about a family taking in a troubled child who is in fact a gifted athlete. I believe that’s where the differences end though. ‘Win Win’ has a lot of heart, but with its colorful language it may have left the ‘family friendly’ moniker behind.

The supporting cast is excellent as well. Amy Ryan, who plays Jackie Flaherty, gets lost in the role as usual and is a great compliment to the family structure. She provides fierceness as a mother that makes the audience realize just how much she loves her kids and Kyle. Jeffrey Tambor, plays Stephen Vigman, the assistant coach who just blindly follows along. His presence brings the funny to this film in waves.

‘Win Win’ is more of a story about family then it is about an athlete succeeding to the highest level. Flaherty must realize what is important to him in life and make an effort to provide for his family. Kyle on the other hand has to learn to trust those around him, even when that trust is constantly put to the test. ‘Win Win’ is a great film that works on multiple levels from drama to comedy and shows that there are no easy answers for life. Highly Recommended.


‘Win Win’
Directed by: Thomas McCarthy
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Jeffrey Tambor, and Alex Shaffer
In Select Theaters Now

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About the Author


Chief Editor of Impassionedcinema. A film enthusiast who studies and creates his own films. Criticizing movies is his favorite pass-time.