THE SHIPPING NEWS
What does it mean to be banished from Eden? We often look to Genesis 3 as a story of the Fall of humankind. And we are often taught that the sin in the Garden is why we live as we do. This is our nature. In The Shipping News, we see what a toll living in that sense of fallenness can take.
Review by
DARREL MANSON

THE SHIPPING NEWS
(2001)


This page was created on December 26, 2001
This page was last updated on May 23, 2005

Directed by Lasse Hallström
Novel by E. Annie Proulx
Screenplay by Robert Nelson Jacobs

Kevin Spacey .... Quoyle
Julianne Moore .... Wavey
Judi Dench .... Agnis
Scott Glenn .... Jack Buggit
Rhys Ifans .... Nutbeem
Pete Postlethwaite .... Tert X. Card
Cate Blanchett .... Petal Bear
Jason Behr .... Dennis Buggit
Gordon Pinsent .... Billy Pretty

Produced by Rob Cowan (producer), Linda Goldstein Knowlton (producer), Leslie Holleran (producer), Michele Platt (associate producer), Diana Pokorny (co-producer), Irwin Winkler (producer)
Original music by Christopher Young
Cinematography by Oliver Stapleton
Film Editing by Andrew Mondshein

MPAA Rating R
- for some language, sexuality and disturbing images


QuickTime Trailer
Official Site
You'll never guess what you'll find inside...
Dive beneath the surface.
SYNOPSIS:
Click to enlargeLasse Hallstrom (CHOCOLAT, MY LIFE AS A DOG) presents this strong, quiet, chillingly deep adaptation of the popular novel by E. Annie Proulx. In the fishing village of Newfoundland, Canada, newspaper journalist Quoyle (Kevin Spacey), his young daughter Bunny (Alyssa Gainer), and his stern aunt Agnis Hamm (Dame Judi Dench) have reclaimed their ancestral home, which stood vacant for 40 years perched over the raging sea on the edge of a cliff. The Northern coastal air and the mundane routine of the sleepy port act as a balm for Quoyle's wounds. Having grown up with unhappy parents who cautioned him that he'd never amount to anything, Quoyle thought he'd finally found a stroke of luck when he fell in love with Petal (a surprisingly slutty but no less beautiful Cate Blanchett), Bunny's mother. However, after Petal's sudden death, and the simultaneous passing of his loveless parents, Quoyle's migration from downtrodden Poughkeepsie, N.Y. to the Canadian coastline is his salvation. As Quoyle gains confidence and pride daily through his coworkers at the tiny newspaper the Gammy Bird, through his friendship with Wavey (a lovely Julianne Moore), and through his reconciliation with some spooky family secrets from the distant past, Quoyle, Bunny, and Agnis slowly find new direction, new hope, and the beginnings of a new life.

Review By
DARREL MANSON
Pastor, Artesia Christian Church, Artesia, CA
http://netministries.org/see/churches/ch01198

Darrel has an incredible love and interest in the cinematic arts. His reviews usually include independent and significantly important film. Some of his reviews: Chocolat, Dancer in the Dark, Faithless, Finding Forrester, Memento, O Brother Where art Thou, Pollock, Quills, Shadow of a Vampire, Widow of St Pierre, Jump Tomorrow, Tortilla Soup, Go Tiger, Life As a House, The Business of Strangers, The Man Who Wasn't There, A Beautiful Mind, In the Bedroom, Shipping News

What does it mean to be banished from Eden? We often look to Genesis 3 as a story of the Fall of humankind. And we are often taught that the sin in the Garden is why we live as we do. This is our nature. In The Shipping News, we see what a toll living in that sense of fallenness can take.

Click to enlargeQuoyle is a major wimp, pushed around by his father, by life, by his wife. After the traumatic death of his wife, he goes with his daughter and long lost aunt to the ancestral home in Newfoundland. They move into the old family house that has been empty for 50 years. To withstand the winds and rain, the house is tied down at the four corners. Even in the most foul Newfoundland weather, this house goes nowhere.

Click to enlargeEven though the family left years ago, the townspeople immediately accept him as a Quoyle. But he really has no idea what that means. As time goes by, he begins to discover the sins of his family. He discovers that the house was not built where it now stands, rather it was built on another island and hauled across the ice after the Quoyles were banished for their evil. And the evil didn't end with that banishment. We keep discovering more and more about the sins of this family. Do the sins of the family fall to later generations? Is that evil something in their nature?

Quoyle often has a sense of drowning, reliving being pushed into the water as a child in an attempt to teach him to swim. He is, in a sense, drowning in his life and in his history. Always in these scenes of drowning, he is passive as the waters rise up and engulf him, as though there is nothing he can do about it. But as he lives among these people and grows within himself, there is an opening for him to move beyond his fears and suffering.

So, let's get back to being banished from Eden. There is within Christianity the idea of a fallen humanity -- that we are by nature fallen and sinful. There really isn't much we can do about it; we're human. And we've been given the guilt of Adam and Eve's sin, just as the Quoyles carried their house with them when they were banished. We set that house up and strengthen it so it can never fall.

But the Gospel is not that we are fallen, but that fallen humanity is set free. We are not bound to our history and our nature. Rather, even though we live as exiles, we are not denied the joys of the Garden. They are just hidden in the life we struggle in. Just as in the story of Eden we see our fall, in the story of Christ, we find our salvation and reconciliation.

Click to enlargeLasse Hallström give us visually stunning pictures of the ice-covered islands of Newfoundland. At first it is hard to think of such places as the Garden. But just as the Garden may be hidden in our lives waiting to be recognized, so too does the landscape in The Shipping News yield its beauty when Quoyle discovers a new life in this community and love that can bring joy and fulfillment.

NEWFOUNDLAND!
Subject: THE SHIPPING NEWS
Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2002
From: "leola haley"

Hi, I just read your review on THE SHIPPING NEWS and i wanted to point out a mistake you have made. The movie was filmed in Newfoundland which is a province in Canada. Nova Scotia is another seperate province in canada. we have provinces whereas you have states. Newfoundland is NOT in Nova Scotia. It is an entirely different part of the country. The film, in fact, was shot in a small fishing village in Newfoundland, Canada. I just thought I would let you know this fact in case you wanted to correct this mistake.
Thank You.
Leola Haley
( a proud Newfoundlander)

Response: Thanks! We fixed the error, it was in the synopsis supplied by the studio.-David

NEWFOUNDLAND IS A PROVINCE!
Subject: The Shipping News
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2002
From: "Heather Clarke"

Whoever wrote this commentary screwed up the location. It's not "the fishing village Newfounldland, Nova Scotia". Newfoundland and Nova scotia are both seperate provinces(provinces=states) within the country, Canada.In "The Shipping News" , the small fishing village is called Killack Claw ( reference to Quoyle's Point also) , Newfoundland. Hope this helps clarify things.
Jodie Clarke
St. John's, Newfoundland

Response: Thanks! We fixed the error, it was in the synopsis supplied by the studio.-David

OFFICIAL SITE
The Shipping News © 2001 Miramax. All Rights Reserved.