Winter Solstice is one of those quiet, somber independent films. While not as flashy as The Upside of Anger (and thatâ€™s not a flashy film), Josh Sternfeldâ€™s feature is a meditative look at a broken family trying to rebuild its life. Donâ€™t expect any major plot twists or a flashy directing style. Solstice takes its time and builds towards something called hope.
A family tragedy as taken its toll on a Jersey family. Anthony LaPaglia plays Jim Winters, a landscape gardener. H…s sons Gabe and Pete (played by Aaron Stanford and Mark Webber, respectively) are adolescents and are trying to deal with their senses of identity. Enter the new woman down the street, Molly (played by West Winger Allison Janney). Jim takes an interest, but romance is tough since the â€œfamily tragedyâ€. There are soap opera elements in the film, but these elements are handled with quiet human rhythms.
The Dolby 5.1 Dolby Digital track is serviceable. There are some rear minor ambient effects, but not a lot to give your speakers a proper workout. The center heavy track is mostly dialogue. If it helps, you can hear everything the characters say. The Dolby 2.0 track doesnâ€™t make much of a difference.
The 1.85:1 widescreen transfer is soft and subdued, like the film. However, there are a few issues with edge enhancement. Slight shimmering can be seen as well. Overall, this is a textured transfer, with a few flaws.
Many people might be bored with Winter Solstice (perhaps the fans of XXX). But if you have the time, this film might be worth a look. LaPagliaâ€™s performance is finely honed and Janney is always fun to watch. Movies donâ€™t always have to be about plot rammed down your throat. Sometimes the more interesting films are the ones that stretch the medium. Winter Solstice is a poem about about love and loss.