The Winter Guest

  • 1997
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama

A small-scale tale of tangled emotions drawn with so fine a brush that it makes your eyes ache, Alan Rickman's directing debut is an unabashed actors' picture, filled with big scenes and bits of business. Young widow Frances (Emma Thompson), still grieving the death of her husband, needs nothing less than an unexpected visit from her bossy, fiercely demanding...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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A small-scale tale of tangled emotions drawn with so fine a brush that it makes your eyes ache, Alan Rickman's directing debut is an unabashed actors' picture, filled with big scenes and bits of business. Young widow Frances (Emma Thompson), still

grieving the death of her husband, needs nothing less than an unexpected visit from her bossy, fiercely demanding mother Elspeth (Phyllida Law, Thompson's own mother). So it goes without saying that Elspeth turns up at her door (actually, she lets herself right in) and starts up: Frances's newly

shorn hair looks dreadful, her house is cold, her kitchen is dirty, she's let herself go... "Can't you say something nice?" asks Frances. "Try." Meanwhile, three other pairs of townspeople are out and about on the coldest day of a bitter Scottish winter, so frigid that even the sea has

frozen solid. Old biddies Chloe and Lily (Sandra Voe and Sheila Rand) are off to attend a funeral, their principle means of amusement. Foul-mouthed and angel-faced schoolboys Tom and Sam (Sean Biggerstaff and Douglas Murphy) are playing truant, puttering about the beach and talking about their

willies. And Frances's teenage son Alex (Gary Hollywood) commences a tentative romance with Nita (Arlene Cockburn). Adapted by playwright Sharman Macdonald and Rickman from Macdonald's play, this chamber drama -- the countryside has a certain bleak loveliness, but everyone might as well have

stayed indoors -- is filled with beautifully observed moments, and the cast makes the most of every one.

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  • Released: 1997
  • Rating: R
  • Review: A small-scale tale of tangled emotions drawn with so fine a brush that it makes your eyes ache, Alan Rickman's directing debut is an unabashed actors' picture, filled with big scenes and bits of business. Young widow Frances (Emma Thompson), still grievin… (more)

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