The Shipping News

January 11th, 2002


The Shipping News

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Still of Julianne Moore in The Shipping NewsStill of Julianne Moore and Kevin Spacey in The Shipping NewsStill of Kevin Spacey in The Shipping NewsStill of Kevin Spacey and Scott Glenn in The Shipping NewsStill of Kevin Spacey in The Shipping NewsStill of Julianne Moore and Kevin Spacey in The Shipping News

An emotionally-beaten man with his young daughter moves to his ancestral home in Newfoundland to reclaim his life.

Release Year: 2001

Rating: 6.7/10 (19,635 voted)

Critic's Score: 47/100

Director: Lasse Hallström

Stars: Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore, Judi Dench

An inksetter in New York, Quoyle returns to his family's longtime home, a small fishing town in Newfoundland, with his young daughter, after a traumatizing experience with her mother, Petal, who sold her to an illegal adoption agency. Though Quoyle has had little success thus far in life, his shipping news column in the newspaper "The Gammy Bird" finds an audience, and his experiences in the town change his life. Then he meets the widow Wavey...

Writers: Annie Proulx, Robert Nelson Jacobs

Kevin Spacey - Quoyle
Julianne Moore - Wavey Prowse
Judi Dench - Agnis Hamm
Cate Blanchett - Petal
Pete Postlethwaite - Tert Card
Scott Glenn - Jack Buggit
Rhys Ifans - Beaufield Nutbeem
Gordon Pinsent - Billy Pretty
Jason Behr - Dennis Buggit
Larry Pine - Bayonet Melville
Jeannetta Arnette - Silver Melville
Robert Joy - EMS Officer
Alyssa Gainer - Bunny Quoyle
Kaitlyn Gainer - Bunny Quoyle
Lauren Gainer - Bunny Quoyle

Taglines: You'll never guess what you'll find inside...


Official Website: Miramax Films [United States] cast, music, trailer | NZZ Online - Neue Zürcher Zeitung (German) |

Release Date: 11 January 2002

Filming Locations: Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Box Office Details

Budget: $35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $318,502 (USA) (23 December 2001) (186 Screens)

Gross: $24,690,441 (Worldwide)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Gordon Pinsent, who played Billy Pretty in the film, was the only leading actor who was a native Newfoundlander. He was a dialect coach for a number of actors in the film including Kevin Spacey and Dame Judi Dench.

Continuity: The headless body apparently disappears from the water in the short time it takes Quoyle to swim to the cooler.

[Tert is ordered to buy Quoyle a new computer]
Quoyle: IBM please.
Tert Card: Go back to your work Quoyle!
Quoyle: I!... B!... M!

User Review

Spacey and Hallstrom shine in a moving story

Rating: 9/10

Director Lasse Halstrom continues to prove himself to be outstanding at presenting sensitive human dramas with this touching film about a broken man's retreat to his ancestral roots. This poignant tale unwinds deliberately and delicately as each of the main characters shares his or her dark secrets buried in the past.

Halstrom is an inspired actors' director who entices outstanding performances from his troupe. He has a wonderful ability to make simple characters appear bigger than life. I continue to admire his unobtrusive presentation, forgoing ostentatious directorial stylizing in favor of simple shots that let the story and the characters dominate. The cinematography and choice of locations in this film are understated and lovely without the need for garishness.

The acting is superb. Kevin Spacey, as Quoyle, once again shows his range, taking on an emotionally crippled character that is quite unlike the confident and clever characters that jump off his resume. Spacey relinquishes all traces of the cockiness that is his trademark and brilliantly renders a pathetic nebbish whose greatest daily struggle is to overcome his own ennui. For Spacey to suppress his natural dynamism to slip this character on so effectively is a testimony to his excellence as an actor.

While this is clearly Spacey's film, the supporting cast of accomplished veterans weaves a splendid tapestry. Julianne Moore is excellent as Quoyle's love interest with a delicate portrayal of a character that is simultaneously supportive and insecure. Judi Dench is marvelous as Quoyle's crusty old aunt, who drags him back to Newfoundland to find himself among the ashes of his unseemly clan. Cate Blanchett is bodacious as the impulsive vamp who ravishes Quoyle and stays with him only long enough to give him a daughter. Scott Glenn is terrific as the cantankerous publisher of the local newspaper who turns Quoyle from a typesetter into a reporter.

This film is not for everyone. It is extremely deliberate and will fray the patience of the average viewer. However, for those who have a love of human interest stories with flawed but lovable characters, this will be a treat. I rated it a 9/10. It is a gem of human foibles and interactions that is moving and insightful.


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