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USA: Paramount Classics
Cast: Anthony LaPaglia, Aaron Stanford, Mark Webber, Allison Janney, Ron Livingston, Michelle Monaghan, Brendan Sexton III, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Tim Dowlin, Lars Engstrom, Jason Fuchs, Paul Iacono, Kel O'Neill, Rocco Rosanio, Thomas Sadoski
Director: Josh Sternfeld
USA Rated: R for language
USA Release Date: 8 April 2005 (Limited Release - Los Angeles and New York)
"The birthday of the unconquered sun" - Roman meaning of "Winter Solstice".
Josh Sternfeld's feature film debut is a poignant look at the impact a woman's love and support has on a father struggling with his sons setting out to explore their independence.
Jim Winters (Anthony LaPaglia) is a widower raising two teenage sons in a modest Jersey home where the inspoke prescence of the boys' mother - killed in a car accident five years earlier - lingers with a quiet intensity. Gabe (Aaron Stanford), the oldest son, wants nothing more than to get out of the New Jersey suburbs and start a new life in Florida, even if it means leaving behind his girlfriend Stacey (Michelle Monaghan), his younger brother Pete (Mark Webber) and his father, who has tried to be striong for the boys, but still clearly misses hi wife.
Jim has no idea Gabe wants to move away. He's kept busy running a small landscaping business and keep Pete on target at school with help from Pete's teacher Mr Bricker (Ron Livingston). Pete is becoming increasingly restless and argumentative. He's not about to let out his feeling about surviving the crash that killed his mother and neither his father or brother are comfortable with letting out their feelings about her very 'present' absence either.
The emotional passe is about to be bridged when Molly Ripken (Allison Jannery) housesits for a friend and borrows a dolly from Jim to help her unpack her things. When she returns it she invites Jim and his boys to dinner as a gesture of thanks. When the night of the dinner arrives, the boys ditch their dad and Jim is forced to go alone and Molly ignites a spark in Jim that he'd long since let die.