Winter Solstice


Winter Solstice

Critics Consensus

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



Reviews Counted: 81

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,501


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3/5

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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 relationship with his girlfriend, Stacey (Michelle Monaghan), but is beginning to chafe at the limitations of small-town life. And five years after his wife's death, Jim still hasn't been able to pick up and start his life over again. When Gabe announces he's decided to move to Florida, it has differing effects on those around him -- Stacey, hurt and confused, begins to withdraw; Pete strikes up a friendship with one of his teachers (Ron Livingston); and Jim struggles to work up the nerve to talk to his new neighbor, Molly Ripkin (Allison Janney. Winter Solstice was the first feature film from writer and director Josh Sternfeld; it won enthusiastic notices following its screenings at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival.

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Critic Reviews for Winter Solstice

All Critics (81) | Top Critics (27)

Ultimately undercut by its fictional elements and its flat characters.

May 13, 2005 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

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 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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 | Rating: B

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

Apr 29, 2005 | Rating: 2/5

In an impressive feature debut, director-screenwriter Josh Sternfeld takes an observant, nuanced look at human behavior.

Apr 28, 2005 | Rating: B | Full Review…

...while our brains quickly comprehend Sternfeld's point, our hearts never quite get the message.

Apr 22, 2005 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

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.

Curtis Lilly
Curtis Lilly

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.

Leo L
Leo L

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

Red Lats
Red Lats

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]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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