Win Win is understated and human enough get under your skin. It has that indy-film feel, but without the in-your-face ironies that can hold similar films at bay. The film carries a great range of emotions. It is a tragi-comedy where actions have consequences, and compromise and tough love is as close as you get to triumph.
And this film is a triumph. It hits unexpected notes; it holds welcome and unwelcome surprises. It has a light touch when it could be heavy-handed. It is playful and yet human. Paul Giamatti is convincing as Mike Flaherty, a down-on his-luck lawyer barely keeping his law firm going by day, and barely keeping a high school wrestling team alive by late day. Opportunities present themselves to Mike: first, with an unethical financial opportunity that opens up other opportunities, that ultimately bring him to deceive those he loves. But his greatest mistakes also open up the possibility for the forgiveness he desperately needs to receive. Mike’s greatest defeats are inseparable from the friendships that become a kind of saving grace for him. Hard won are the victories in the lives of these characters, and the victories are only the beginning of the hard work that sustains them even as the screen fades to black and the film credits roll by.