The Winter Guest

Director:Alan Rickman
Writers:Alan Rickman and Sharman Macdonald
Director of Photography:Seamus McGarvey
Editor:Scott Thomas
Music:Michael Kamen
Production Designer:Robin Cameron Don
Producers:Ken Lipper, Edward R. Pressman and Steve Clark-Hall
Fine Line; R; 110 minutes
Cast:Phyllida Law, Emma Thompson, Gary Hollywood, Arlene Cockburn, Sheila Reid, Sandra Voe, Douglas Murphy, Sean Biggerstaff and Tom Watson

Though long-winded and stagy at times, Rickman, in his directorial debut, poignantly explores the relationship of a mother and recently widowed daughter struggling to come to terms with aging — and with one another. A harsh and beautiful Scottish winter provides the backdrop for Thompson and Law's (Thompson's real-life mother) brilliant performances as the two women who spend a day bickering and talking as they walk through a seaside village. Interspersed with their walk are scenes of other townspeople coping with their own dramas. Like many British films of late, The Winter Guest is refreshingly devoid of Hollywood's signature hyperbole; instead of beating the audience over the head with obvious and banal themes, Rickman chooses to linger on the resonance of the details and lets his audience form their own conclusions.

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