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Winter Solstice (R)

Release Date: April 8th, 2005 (NYC-Angelika Film Center and Clearview 1st/62nd), by Paramount Classics.
The Cast: Anthony LaPaglia, Aaron Stanford, Mark Webber, Allison Janney.

Basic Premise: A widowed father (LaPaglia) living in New Jersey copes with his two difficult sons (Stanford and Webber) while starting a romance with a new neighbor (Janney).

Entertainment Value: The acting is wonderful--especially LaPaglia, in one of the strongest performances of his career. Allison Janney is also a talented actress and lights up the screen in every scene. The scenery is beautiful, making the most out of New Jersey's charm; if only every town in New Jersey looked that nice. The soundtrack is also noteworthy, perfectly blending the music with the tone of the film.

Spiritual Value: The film has a very realistic feel to it. It takes its characters seriously and treats them like real people in every scene. There's some comedy, some tragedy, and a little drama mixed in as well. It's all part of life's cycle of events. The final act is very touching, with an ending that makes one feel warm and happy without any sugar-coating.

Insult to your intelligence: None.

Number of times I checked my watch: 0

The Bottom Line: A pleasant film with great acting, beautiful scenery as well as warmth and sensitivity toward its very realistic characters.

Recommended Way to Watch: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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