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Winter Solstice (2005)



Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 80
Fresh: 48 | Rotten: 32

A deliberately paced, realistic portrait of a family's grief and healing.


Average Rating: 6.6/10
Critic Reviews: 27
Fresh: 18 | Rotten: 9

A deliberately paced, realistic portrait of a family's grief and healing.



liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 1,474

My Rating

Movie Info

A family struggles to come to terms with changes after a death in the family in this independent drama. Jim Winters (Anthony LaPaglia) is a widower living in suburban New Jersey with his two teenage sons, Gabe (Aaron Stanford) and Pete (Mark Webber). Pete, the younger of the siblings, has a hearing problem that has made school difficult for him; consequently, he has lost interest in his education and spends most of his time goofing off. Gabe is smarter and more ambitious, and has a stable



Josh Sternfeld

Sep 13, 2005


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All Critics (91) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (48) | Rotten (32) | DVD (7)

Ultimately undercut by its fictional elements and its flat characters.

May 13, 2005 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This movie deserves to be seen -- and learned from. It captures the moments in which each of us stares out across an emptiness, searching for a connection that will keep us from falling.

May 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's the kind of narrow-gauged drama that either will drive you crazy or absorb you in its low-key rhythms. Mostly, I went along for the ride.

May 6, 2005
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It has everything an indie film could desire -- except for a compelling plot or dramatic tension.

April 29, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Audiences may not get too excited about devastated people who conduct their social lives at the local Dairy Queen.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Winter Solstice is an intense drama and all the action is internal. LaPaglia is such a fine actor and every nuance of his bottled up Jim comes through, as he struggles to not only be a good father, but to find a direction in his own life.

November 18, 2005 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Winter Solstice thrives solely on how much understatement you can actually handle in a movie.

October 20, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

...a gem...

September 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Something that's increasingly rare: a stringently subtextual drama....when they finally arrive, the epiphanies are small ones.

September 12, 2005
Groucho Reviews

Solstice offers solace. It is quiet, understated and powerful as a single chapter in several changing lives.

June 10, 2005

Sternfeld started with well-conceived characters and simply didn't succeed in making them flesh. These people have traits instead of personalities; goals instead of dreams.

June 8, 2005 Full Review Source: Offoffoff

To read between the lines in Winter Solstice, you better bring a magnifying glass.

May 12, 2005 Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly

Such a low-key drama that I'm not sure anything happens in it at all.

May 10, 2005 Full Review Source:

Give Winter Solstice some credit for taking an unexpected route.

May 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Scene after scene of halting conversations, meaningful glances and awkward pauses that will leave you as cold as the ominous title implies.

May 6, 2005
Salt Lake Tribune

A slice-of-life film that, while well-acted, isn't compelling enough to rise to a tale to which you'd want to give two hours of your undivided attention.

May 6, 2005
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The filmmaker understands that quiet desperation is often more moving than noisy suffering.

May 4, 2005
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Flashy it certainly ain't, but there's no discounting the value of a decent story well told, especially these days.

May 2, 2005 Full Review Source: The Stranger (Seattle, WA)

The chill in the air is deadening for the viewer.

May 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

We've seen the same material in umpteen other films, and we've learned everything about the characters during the first third of the movie.

April 30, 2005 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Winter Solstice

Not very exciting, but a pretty accurate depiction of what a real persons life is like. And as such there was really no plot, or climax, or ending. Still somehow it wasn't boring, so they did something right.
February 10, 2008
Curtis Lilly

Super Reviewer

Story about dealing with a loss in the family and the difficulties of parents understanding teens and vice versa. There is a certain slowness or lulling rhythm to the film
May 5, 2007

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]In "Winter Solstice", Jim Winters(Anthony LaPaglia) is a single father who owns his own landscaping business in a small town. His eldest son, Gabe(Aaron Stanford), works in a restaurant pretty much non-stop in an effort to save up as much money as he can before leaving for Tampa to work on a boat. In the process he would leave his loving girlfriend, Stacey(Michelle Monaghan), behind. Gabe's younger brother, Pete(Mark Webber), sporting an unfashionable looking hearing aid, is on the ten-year plan in high school and is set to go to summer school. Molly Ripken(Alison Janney) is a housesitter that moves in nearby...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]In "Winter Solstice", not much happens.(I do not mind if a movie is slow, just as long as it is headed somewhere.) I know that in real life people are more likely to be hanging out at the local Dariy Queen than having life-changing events, but it does not make for compelling drama.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]All of which is a shame because the movie wastes a fine cast including Anthony LaPaglia. Michelle Monaghan and Alison Janney brighten whatever room they are in. And Ron Livingston almost steals the movie playing a history teacher.[/font]
July 13, 2006
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

A great film!
Very touching story about a widower and his two sons, and the struggle to have to overcome to get over the death of a wife and mother.
December 8, 2007
Leo L

Super Reviewer

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