Win Win 2011

Win Win

Critics Consensus

Rich, wonderful characters and strong performances populate Win Win, with writer/director Thomas McCarthy continuing to emerge as a great American humanist.

94%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 175

85%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 32,025

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Movie Info

Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti) is a struggling, though not overly ambitious, lawyer. As the court-appointed attorney of Leo Poplar (Burt Young), an old man afflicted with dementia, Mike sees an opportunity to take things easy for awhile by volunteering to become Leo's legal guardian and thereby gain control of the man's monthly stipend. The unexpected arrival of Leo's grandson complicates Mike's plans, until he learns that the youth is a champion wrestler who can help the team Mike coaches.

Cast & Crew

Paul Giamatti
Mike Flaherty
Amy Ryan
Jackie Flaherty
Bobby Cannavale
Terry Delfino
Jeffrey Tambor
Stephen Vigman
Burt Young
Leo Poplar
Melanie Lynskey
Cindy Timmons
Tom McCarthy
Screenwriter
Lisa Marie Falcone
Producer
Lori Keith Douglas
Executive Producer
Tom Heller
Executive Producer
Oliver Bokelberg
Cinematographer
Tom McArdle
Film Editor
Lyle Workman
Original Music
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News & Interviews for Win Win

Critic Reviews for Win Win

All Critics (175) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (165) | Rotten (10)

  • Win Win isn't a morality play; it's just a really good story. But it does deal with an issue that couldn't be more relevant: Where do we draw the line when it comes to survival if it means clouding our sense of right and wrong?

    September 2, 2011
  • The rare, humanist beauty of Win Win is that none of its characters is a caricature, none of its plot twists a blatant play for tears or laughs, none of its appeal based on some mythical lowest common denominator.

    July 28, 2011 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • A deft, warm, serious and often very funny film.

    May 23, 2011 | Full Review…

    Philip French

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • Trying to please a crowd needn't be a shameful business. Tom McCarthy makes light comedies that notice the goodness and hospitality in unlikely people, yet stop short of sentimentalising them.

    May 20, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Win Win is slighter, and sappier, than it might have been. Still and all, it's a joy.

    May 20, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • For all its witty observations on the trials of modern manhood, it never strays out of its blinkered suburban comfort zone.

    May 19, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Steve Rose

    Guardian
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Win Win

  • Jan 11, 2014
    It's uncommon to find comedic dramas that balance themselves out so decently, mixing both genres that can create an entertaining ride. The main attraction here is Paul Giamatti, but the rest of the cast does a good job bringing along characters with a clearly defined role: comedy, irony, drama, tenderness, etc. Thomas McCarthy was born as an independent director, but since The Station Agent (2003), he seems to have become another average and forgettable Hollywood name despite the interesting proposals of emotional downfalls and complex dilemmas that his characters had presented. He seems to present the same array of characters to balance everything. In this case, such balance is present again (sorry for being reiterative) but the film offers nothing entirely original for considering Win Win as a refreshing proposal, and the resolution, despite being quite fair and reasonable, rushes things fot a proper powerful closure. Still, it's worth a watch. 58/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 22, 2013
    Quite a glorious little indie from the dependably insightful and naturalistic writer/director Tom McCarthy, who, like with "The Station Agent" and "The Visitor," creates another atypical leading man with mundane demons and satisfying redemptions. Perennial loser-with-layers portrayer Paul Giamatti plays Mike, a hard-up estate lawyer who commits a bit of light fraud with a rich, demented client to pay his own crippling household debts. The old man's grandson, Kyle, shows up from the wrong side of the tracks in hopes of getting away from a druggie mother, and Mike takes him under his wing out of pity and guilt, then genuine caring, and the two strike up a bond over high school wrestling...that is until Kyle finds out about Mike's transgression. Alex Shaffer plays the bleach blonde Kyle with reticence but manners, and Bobby Cannavale plays the gregarious overgrown Guido-type, Terry, with charming impishness. The wrestling plot is triumphant and fast-paced, and the growing affection in this unconventional family tugs at some heartstrings. The legal subplot with Kyle's mom wanting guardianship of Leo for shady reasons is a bit convoluted and underdeveloped though; we're supposed to sympathize with Leo and Kyle who just want to be left alone in their own home, but apparently, Leo wasn't a great father and may have contributed to his daughter's drug problems. What then?
    Alice S Super Reviewer
  • Jul 04, 2013
    Paul Giamatti is a superb talent that always manages to shine in his roles. Win Win is yet another one of those films that should be seen due to a great cast and wonderful story. Films like this are better than most big budget affairs because they tend to use the simplest ideas to tell a great story. The result is a movie that has some standout actors that deliver on-screen in a fun, comedic and dramatic movie that is entertaining from start to finish. The direction is great and the film's pacing is perfect with a tone goes from dramatic to comedic. Like I previously stated, Giamatti is a great actor and he delivers the standout performance of the movie that make this movie worth seeing. If you're in the mood for a well crafted drama comedy, then give this one a shot, you'll be glad you did. The film boasts a strong script that at times could have been better, but overall, the plot and acting are well rounded it out to make this an enjoyable yarn that is quite surprising. I really didn't expect much from this one, but I came out surprised. Director Tom McCarthy has crafted something special here, a movie that is fun and charming from the first frame onwards. Win Win manages to overcome its flaws due to its cast and effective directing. This is yet another great movie from Giamatti and he proves once again that he is a talented actor that can command the screen and elevate the film's material. Win Win is a great movie that you shouldn't pass up on.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Aug 25, 2012
    Pleasantly surprised. Not a movie I would have ever picked up, but was given a copy, so gave it a go. I really don't like sport themed movies (or sport especially), so usually end up bored and wishing I hadn't bothered. This is about wrestling, but it's secondary to the main story. Actually a really good movie, good story about a guy who is going broke so takes on guardianship of an elderly man and winds up saddled with the grandson and ex druggie daughter as well. Really good characters and believable acting. Ending a little too convenient, but it's a minor gripe.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer

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