Back in 2005, playwright Adam Rapp (perhaps best knows for his 2018 mini-series, The Looming Tower) turned his attention to the writing and directing of a movie. It was a new experience for him. The film was titled Winter Passing and he managed to assemble an impressive cast for a first effort, which had a modest budget, a limit theatrical break and then it was gone.
Word arrived this past week that MVD Entertainment Group has bestowed Marquee Collection status on that film and it will be available as both DVD and Blu-ray product offerings this coming May 25.
In light of Zooey Deschanel’s Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her performance as Jess Day in the long-running sitcom New Girl, you might jump to the conclusion that Winter Passing — teaming her once again with Will Ferrell (they co-starred together in Elf) — is a comedy. Ed Harris and Amelia Warner (Aeon Flux, Gone, Quills) also star. It has all the elements of an off-beat comedy, but that is not what you get here; that is not what filmmaker Adam Rapp conjured up.
MVD Entertainment Group has developed the Marquee Collection promotional line of home entertainment products to showcase just this sort of film. It is a character study … dysfunctional characters, yet engaging. Further, it is the kind of film that was overlooked when first released theatrically, but whose time has come for a second look … hence: Marquee Collection status.
We are introduced to Reese (Zooey Deschanel), an attractive young woman living in New York City … a wannabe actress, who tends bar to pay the rent. She lives without purpose. There is sex and drugs and alcohol, but without the rock ‘n’ roll.
She is approached one day by a publisher by the name of Lori Lansky (Amy Madigan in a small role … she is Ed Harris’ wife and often appears in his films), who wants her to obtain the letters written between her famous father (Ed Harris) and her equally famous mother (recently deceased) when they were at the top of their game as writers. $100,000 for the letters!
Reese is so estranged from her father that she didn’t even bother to attend her mother’s funeral, but she now has 100,000 good reasons to head back home.
With the offer in hand, she arrives at her father’s home and this is where it starts to get really weird. She is met at the door by Corbit (Ferrell), a very strange man, who demands to see some sort of identification after she claims to be the daughter of the man who owns the house ... and, by the way, where is he?
Reese comes to learn that Corbit is now living in her father’s house, her father is living in an unheated shed in the back (quite willingly) and Corbit has a roommate by the name of Shelly (Amelia Warner), who was a former student of Harris when he was a college professor.
All the elements are here for a weird, ever dark comedy, but Rapp keeps the focus elsewhere. It is absolutely amazing that Ferrell never breaks character … he’s a lonely, shy man, who wants to sing and play guitar, but is so inhibited that it will take a miracle for that to happen.
Reese’s father is back to writing. He is also back to drinking. He is good at both. Reese settles in and discovers a certain “rhythm” to living with Corbit and Shelly in the house while her father works away on his writing.
Like many stories, it is often not the destination — in this case, retrieving the letters and collecting $100,000 — but the journey, where Reese comes away from her personal journey with way more than she ever thought she would.
Filmmaker Adam Rapp’s 2005 film, Winter Passing, as time itself has passed, deserves a second look … DVD and Blu-ray edition will be available for just that purpose on June 25.
Bonus features include a behind-the-scenes featurette.