Winter Solstice ★★★ 2004 (R)
Such a sad, sad gut-wrencher. But it's so good at being sad. Jim Winters (LaPaglia) is the struggling father of a motherless family still trying to get by without her, five years after a tragic car accident. Jim's two sons, Gabe and Peter, don't want to grab hold when he reaches out to them. They're mad at the life they live. Thankfully, writer/director Josh Sternfeld doesn't bother with much plot, something that normally distracts from emotion and character examination in these types of films. These people live and suffer, and let us watch—we wonder what'll happen to them when the movie ends. Its effect lingers long after the credits. 90m/C DVD . US Anthony LaPaglia, Aaron Stanford, Mark Webber, Allison Janney, Michelle Monaghan, Ron Livingston, Brandon Sexton III, Ebon Moss-Bachrach; D: Josh Sternfeld; W: Josh Sternfeld; C: Harlan Bosmajian; M: John Leventhal.