The Winter Guest
Warmhearted characters take the chill off Alan Rickman’s directorial debut, a stark ensemble drama about the connections and struggles among the denizens of a Scottish coastal town: A grief-paralyzed widow (Emma Thompson) gets an unexpected visit from her meddling mother (Thompson’s real-life mum, Phyllida Law); two old biddies cope with mortality by cheerfully attending one funeral after another; a teenage couple experiments with sex; two boys test their friendship while playing hooky. Rickman, who coadapted Sharman Macdonald’s play, imbues his artfully lensed character study with a quiet stillness, punctuated by Michael Kamen’s emotive piano score.
EXTRAS Short, dry interviews with Law (one and a half minutes — c’mon!) and Thompson (just over three) lack any mother-daughter dish, as do throaty-voiced Rickman’s soporific musings, which could have gone lighter on the craft talk.