Tom McCarthy's "Win Win", which I just caught up with last week, is a truthful, affectionate family drama, one that's easy to snuggle up to and sympathize with, while still staying true to its self and never compromising its characters in a way that makes them dismissible.
With this film, McCarthy has further proven to be a practiced hand at portraying these kinds of honest, moving character dramas centered around unexpected relationships. His previous film, 2008's "The Visitor," had a pervasively solemn expression in examining the unlikely (and ultimately tragic) encounter between a lonely middle-aged professor and an illegal immigrant, while "Win Win" sees a seemingly honest rural Midwest family take in a teenager, which temporarily, at least, changes their lives for the better.
Alex Shaffer, playing the young, reserved Kyle who rediscovers his love for wrestling under his new temporary family, delivers the prize performance of the lot, his blonde mop and monotone delivery masking a subtle vulnerability and always present longing for dependency and support. On the whole, the film may be slightly too calculated, slightly too transparent to prove a knockout, yet its earnestness and its performances are nearly irresistible. [B]