Monday, January 23, 2012
The movie starts Paul Giamatti, who has just churned out some amazing movies. He plays Mike Flaherty, a struggling lawyer who happens to be the wrestling coach at the local high school.
His practice is making no money. He takes on a client, who has dementia and is being thrown out of his home, because he has no guardian. His drug-addicted daughter is nowhere to be found.
Seeing that the old man has a monthly stipend, Mike, as his lawyer, volunteers to become his guardian. He claims he will keep him in his home but in actuality, he puts him in an assisted living home. It's quite nice, quite frankly, and despite the initial ill intention, Mike is a doting guardian.
As he checks on the old man's house, he sees a young kid sitting at the front door. The boy introduces himself as Kyle, the old man's grandson. And then the movie gets even better.
Kyle, played by Alex Shaffer, is the star of this movie. He's a brooding 16 year old. He talks in monotonous tone; you start to think what a punk he is, with his bleached hair and nonchalant attitude.
But he has manners, and addresses everyone by name. He apologizes for smoking.
As Mike seeks Kyle's mother, he takes him with him to work and to wrestling practice. The wrestling team is on a losing streak and Mike shows his frustration at the practice that Kyle attends. At home that evening, Kyle asks if he can practice with the team the following day. When he does, Mike and his fellow coach, played brilliantly by yet another great actor and favorite of mine, Jeffrey Tambor, are stunned: Kyle is an A-1 wrestler.
Eventually they discover that he was one of the best in the state of Ohio. And he helps the team, the coaches, the family of Mike Flaherty, as well as his grandfather.
It's a wonderful movie - feel-good but definitely in the independent, non-hollywood fluff style. I absolutely loved it and Kyle's character is one of those few characters I'll never forget.
I definitely recommend it and am glad to know that two of the movies I've watched off my list have been spot on (the other was The Descendants). I'm looking forward to completing my list.