In Short: A kind-hearted father and his small daughter move to the Newfoundland countryside of their ancestors after a tragic accident, where he must learn to fit in, and hopefully heal.
To anyone who watched Lord of the Rings and thinks Cate Blanchett is just this well of elf-like beauty, poise, love and grace ? HA.
The story of The Shipping News starts with Quoyle, a young-ish man who has seen himself as a failure all his life because, as a young boy, his father pushed him into the river to teach him how to swim, but he never learned. After that, his outlook on life had been totally destroyed, and he aspired to minimalism, getting sleep-inducing jobs as a ticket-checker, a dish-washer, and an ink setter. But one day, while on his way home after a particularly unsatisfactory day at his workplace, scruffy, worldly-naïve Quoyle sees a man and a beautiful young woman arguing, and, before he knows it, the woman has let herself into his car and is telling him to drive, which he does. Over a cheap meal, the woman introduces herself as ?Petal?, and seduces Quoyle, telling him that she wants to fuck him ? then and there. After a rousing round, Quoyle confesses his love to her. She is the best thing to ever happen to him in his disappointing life.
Soon after, Petal begrudgingly bears him the child she conceived during their round of sex ? a beautiful baby girl, whom they name Bunny. Quoyle soon finds himself the lone caretaker for Bunny, as Petal is constantly at bars, or hooking up with other men and bringing them home for one-night stands. Soon, Quoyle gets a call from his father telling him that he and Quoyle?s mother had decided to commit suicide, because they decided ?it was about time?. When Quoyle tells Petal that he has been left with nothing, she decides to run away with her current boyfriend, taking Bunny with them and leaving Quoyle alone.
Quoyle reports this to the police, and soon his wife and daughter are found. His daughter is returned to him ? but his wife is dead. After selling Bunny to a black-market adoption agency for six thousand dollars, Petal and her boyfriend took a slippery bridge road, lost control of the car, and cascaded off the side, their car getting caught on the railing, both dying on contact. Quoyle is then visited by the sister of his late father, who takes him and his little daughter back to Newfoundland with her to get to know the land their ancestors originated from ? and hopefully to help him and his daughter heal from their scarred past.
For the first twenty minutes of the film, it was very good. VERY good. Quoyle was one of the most sympathetic characters I have ever seen in any film I?ve ever watched. And, as he begins to grow as a person and become something more than just a failure, you would think he would grow to be an even more likeable character ? independent, a better father, successful. Instead, Quoyle, as he gains independence and gets to know the people and the land around him, becomes a whiny, bratty little bitch. If something goes wrong, he has to complain to someone about it. If something horrible happens, he can?t just learn to let it go, he has to yell at someone about it ? usually someone who had nothing to do with it in the first place.
And Bunny? Bunny is cute, but MAN is she bizarre. Petal told her once that ?Daddy is boring?, and from them on, she has judged everything as being ?boring?, from her doll, which she destroys in a fit of anger, to the children of the village, including the special-needs child of the woman in which Quoyle develops an interest ? but pretty much destroys any chance of being with by drinking himself stupid and trying to rape her, then passing out on her kitchen floor.
I would not recommend purchasing this film. I did, and I wasted a whole eight dollars. However, the soundtrack is phenomenal, full of the sounds of native Newfoundland. If the plot of the film, however, intrigues you, then you should perhaps rent it ? if you can find it.