The Shipping News Reviews

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Derek Adams
Time Out
February 9, 2006
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Atlanta Journal-Constitution
June 21, 2002
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
March 13, 2002
I am baffled by all the negativity surrounding it, and I am prepared to designate it as the most underrated film of 2001.
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Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
January 22, 2002
The movie has a modest but true feeling for the ways in which people are formed by the ravages of their natural surroundings.
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
January 17, 2002
Spacey brilliantly shows Quoyle's transformation from a passive clod to a curious journalist.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
January 10, 2002
I like good newspaper movies. Most of them get it completely wrong. In this case, it's exactly right.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
January 8, 2002
Some novels need to be left alone. Hear that, Hollywood?
| Original Score: 0.5/5
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Charles Taylor
Salon.com
January 8, 2002
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.
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
January 3, 2002
A movie that engrosses, hypnotizes and clings to the memory long after the final frame.
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
December 29, 2001
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
December 28, 2001
Hallstrom and screenwriter Robert Nelson Jacobs, the team that gave us the spectacularly ordinary Chocolat, have concocted another box of mediocrity.
| Original Score: 1.5/5
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Robert Koehler
Variety
December 28, 2001
[L]ike a string quartet performing a half-beat off, the team behind Chocolat only occasionally captures the story's essential tones of absurd tragedy and comedy.
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Bob Graham
San Francisco Chronicle
December 28, 2001
It's hardly possible to overstate what a welcome change of pace The Shipping News is for admirers of Kevin Spacey.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Susan Stark
Detroit News
December 26, 2001
A quiet, penetrating marvel of a movie.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Jay Carr
Boston Globe
December 26, 2001
Too muted to be counted as a fully successful big-screen translation of Annie Proulx's enormously popular novel, but there's a lot to like in it all the same.
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
December 25, 2001
Despite its haunting artistry and its winning eccentricities, The Shipping News is a vehicle that's still very much at sea.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
December 25, 2001
Relentlessly colorful and cute.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 25, 2001
Deals with weighty issues and is intellectually intriguing, but I found myself uninvolved from start to finish.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Rita Kempley
Washington Post
December 25, 2001
It's worth seeing at the very least because it is so different from standard Hollywood fare.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
December 25, 2001
Moves at a glacial pace, much like the icy land it's set in. And even a top-notch cast can't warm up the atmosphere.
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
December 25, 2001
The interior monologues and intense detail of the book don't transfer well to the big screen. When a guy is this bored with himself, why should we argue otherwise?
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
December 25, 2001
A meticulous and often moving adaptation from Lasse Hallström.
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John Anderson
Newsday
December 25, 2001
Hallstrom injects a little magic realism here, a fantasy flashback there, but without Proulx's language, what's left is a pretty pedestrian tale.
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Stephen Holden
New York Times
December 25, 2001
Instead of giving you the book, it leaves you with the unfulfilled sense of having leafed through an elegant, studiously captioned photo essay of the same material.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
December 25, 2001
It's easier to respect than to love a movie almost totally lacking in conventional dramatic conflict, with almost all the characters seeming in dire need of antidepressants.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
December 25, 2001
The nominally emotional moments feel unearned, partially because many of the book's edges and eccentricities have been softened.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/5
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Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
December 24, 2001
By and large, it's a solid film.
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
December 24, 2001
Hallstrom has fashioned a disjointed movie full of strong performances and some powerful individual scenes.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
December 24, 2001
A satisfying movie experience, a film you admire for its reluctance to turn up the dramatic heat.
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Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
December 24, 2001
The story line's strength and resilience allow the film to rebound from lumpish storytelling and one major miscasting.
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December 24, 2001
The acting is first-rate, and deeply moving at times. However, it takes the patience of Job to get to the end.
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
December 24, 2001
Hallstrom ... has always been excellent with scenery and ensemble casts, and Shipping News, besides its great Trinity Blight vistas, has another incredible ensemble.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
December 22, 2001
A limp and sodden downer.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
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Michael Rechtshaffen
Hollywood Reporter
December 21, 2001
With a very able cast on hand to flesh out the finer details ... it makes for an artfully assembled picture.
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Jessica Winter
Village Voice
December 18, 2001
The fable-telling here is more attuned to character and largely apolitical.