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The Shipping News (2001)

The Shipping News


Average Rating: 5.8/10
Reviews Counted: 130
Fresh: 72
Rotten: 58

Critics Consensus: Though solidly made and acted, The Shipping News is rather heavy-handed and dull, especially given the nature of its protagonist.

Average Rating: 5.8/10
Reviews Counted: 32
Fresh: 18
Rotten: 14

Critics Consensus: Though solidly made and acted, The Shipping News is rather heavy-handed and dull, especially given the nature of its protagonist.


Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 20,495


Movie Info

A man makes a journey to self-discovery when he returns to his ancestral home on the coast of Newfoundland. After the death of his estranged wife, Quoyle's fortunes begin to change when his long lost Aunt Agnis convinces him to head north with his daughters. He relocates to the small coastal village of Killick-Claw. Now, in a place where life is as rough as the weather and secrets are as vast as the ocean, Quoyle lands a job as a reporter for the local newspaper. He reports on the shipping news … More

R (for some language, sexuality and disturbing images)
Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
Robert Nelson Jacobs
In Theaters:
Jun 18, 2002
Box Office:
Miramax Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for The Shipping News

All Critics (143) | Top Critics (35) | Fresh (72) | Rotten (58) | DVD (16)

I am baffled by all the negativity surrounding it, and I am prepared to designate it as the most underrated film of 2001.

Full Review… | March 13, 2002
New York Observer
Top Critic

The movie has a modest but true feeling for the ways in which people are formed by the ravages of their natural surroundings.

Full Review… | January 22, 2002
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

Spacey brilliantly shows Quoyle's transformation from a passive clod to a curious journalist.

January 17, 2002
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

I like good newspaper movies. Most of them get it completely wrong. In this case, it's exactly right.

Full Review… | January 10, 2002
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

Some novels need to be left alone. Hear that, Hollywood?

January 8, 2002
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Where The Cider House Rules was one of the most exquisite examples of classical Hollywood filmmaking in years, Chocolat was no more than a trite, pleasant trifle. The Shipping News, well made as it is, isn't even up to that standard.

Full Review… | January 8, 2002
Top Critic

You can envision the attractively packaged DVD or Blu-ray sell-through collection now: 'Lasse Hallstrom's Baldly Oscar-Baiting Literary Adaptations. Buy it today!'

Full Review… | May 15, 2012
Shared Darkness

Not really meant for kids and teens.

Full Review… | December 29, 2010
Common Sense Media

What has happened to Lasse Hallstrom: This poor adaptation of an interesting novel is not only bland but also poorly acted and shapeless

Full Review… | January 11, 2007

...a problematic film redeemed by its steel gray palette and the actorly instincts of its chief players

Full Review… | January 29, 2005
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore astound in touching, well-told tale of rebirth and redemption.

Full Review… | November 7, 2002

Hallström ... has done a spectacular job with this odd story, and has created a memorable, if not perfect film.

Full Review… | October 21, 2002
San Diego Metropolitan

Mr. Spacey and his estimable supporting cast bring skill and commitment to their roles; they respect their characters and demand as much from the audience.

Full Review… | October 15, 2002
Cincinnati Enquirer

The ensemble work by the cast helps detract from the narrative's basic aimlessness.

Full Review… | September 1, 2002

The book is better----Long awaited screen adaptation of E. Annie Proulx's "Shipping News" fails to transport the goods

Full Review… | July 15, 2002
Pasadena Weekly

It seems there is almost no prized novel that director Lasse Hallstrom couldn't make duller and less purposeful.

Full Review… | June 21, 2002
Matinee Magazine

Another beautifully-made and serious-minded celebration of having nothing to say.

Full Review… | June 21, 2002
Film Written Magazine

Everyone has not only some catastrophe but some mystical experience to communicate until, finally, it all comes crashing down in well-timed, well-executed ennui.

June 14, 2002
Movie Metropolis

Nearly everyone we meet has a cute name (Billy Pretty, B.B. Nutbeem, etc.), an extensive backstory and his/her personal set of adorable eccentricities. It's enough to give folksy types a bad name.

Full Review… | June 9, 2002
Kalamazoo Gazette

Queda un sentimiento de insatisfacción por haber perdido casi dos horas sentado y sin que se nos diga hacia donde van los eventos.

Full Review… | May 7, 2002

Begins so unsurely that it hardly has a chance at recovery

March 17, 2002

The story is played as a warm and fuzzy one, a fairy tale where children are revered and one's family roots are sacred.

Full Review… | March 14, 2002
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Titular: La vida anodina e insulsa te lleva a lo impredecible.

March 10, 2002

The Shipping News isn't much of a breaking story, but its byline is hungry enough to be in the right place despite its convoluted convictions.

Full Review… | March 4, 2002
Movie Eye

The simple build of comedy and meticulous build of tragedy are missing and so, in effect, is the movie's heart.

Full Review… | February 26, 2002
Mark Reviews Movies

Audience Reviews for The Shipping News

A congenital looser named Quoyle, after having dealt with multiple blows in life, moves with his daughter to his ancestral homeland, Newfoundland, at the urging of his long-lost Aunt, Agnis (Judi Dench). There he befriends a serene single mother, Wavey Prowse(Julianne Moore) and gradually finds himself accepted into that remote community.

Once the story makes the transition to the snowy coasts of Newfoundland, I found myself elevated to a whole another level of movie experience. Maybe it has to do something with the going-back-to-roots premise of the movie. Photographic grandeur of the breathtaking landscapes plays its part in that feeling too.

Movie features powerful performances from a clutch of well recognized talents. The simple story can basically be described as one about our search for a place in the world and about coming to grips with the past. Lass Hallstrom, who gave us "What's eating Gilbert Grape", leaves you with a similar experience when you're through with this movie.

Sajin P A

Super Reviewer


Not a Corvette this film but rather a stationwagon with room for many (and their assorted baggage) and not a film for everyone, this story of a family returning to it's small town roots I found hypnotic. It's my favorite Spacey film, instantly, Dench was solid as an oak, and Julianna Moore did not offend me for a change.

Apeneck Fletcher

Super Reviewer


An interesting family movie - with all sorts of A list stars. Kevin Spacey plays Quoyle, who starts his live over after he goes back to his ancestral home in Newfoundland. I liked the acting by Quoyle's daughter who is played by three sisters (at different ages I presume). I also liked the set - the stark Newfoundland seashore.

Red Lats

Super Reviewer

Cast: Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore, Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Pete Postlethwaite, Scott Glenn, Rhys Ifans, Gordon Pinsent, Jason Behr, Larry Pine

Director: Lasse Hallström

Summary: 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. Lasse Hallström directs this drama based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by E. Annie Proulx.

My Thoughts: "Such a great story. Kevin Spacey delivers another flawless performance. He is a favorite of mine and he never disappoints in any film he does. His character Quoyle, in the beginning seemed very naive and to be honest, pathetic. Though his new life in Newfoundland brings with it a fresh start, and you slowly see his demeanor change. He becomes confident and strong in the sense of him finally finding himself. The story itself is a bit depressing in the beginning, but the mood changes throughout the film . The tale is sad, but the ending is satisfying. I liked the symbolism of the house. Just a great story with a great cast. Love Judi Dench. See it if you haven't."


Super Reviewer

The Shipping News Quotes

Deadly storm takes house. Leaves excellent view.
– Submitted by Carl P (57 days ago)
Jack Buggit:
You don't have the sense God gave a donut, do you?
– Submitted by Frances H (17 months ago)
Agnis Hamm:
Tea's a good drink. Keep you going.
– Submitted by Alan J (3 years ago)

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