The Winter Guest

Director: Alan Rickman
Year Released: 1997
Rating: 1.0

... And I so love Alan Rickman as an actor! It's too bad, really, that his directorial debut is underwhelming. Ultimately, it's four different vignettes strung together (with little or no interaction between them): the first one involves a young man and his lively sexual encounter with a boyish brunette, the second involves his mother (Emma Thompson) bickering with her dying mom (played by her real life mum), the third involves two boys skipping school, playing with cats and putting Mineral Ice on their genitals and the last one involves two ambiguously gay older women who frequent the funerals of people they don't know. What all of these things has in common can probably be ascertained using a little bit of thought, but they don't really play well on the screen. The fact that the film cuts from one vignette to the other interrupting the flow of the other parts greatly reduces the emotional impact. It also ends on a flimsy note: we're not sure what the director and screenwriter are trying to tell us. Is it that we must depend on each other for support? Is it supposed to chronicle the four stages of life? Or is it empty, and devoid of meaning? No matter what, I think it works better as a play than as a film.