.

Everybody Wins

Debra Winger, Nick Nolte, Will Patton

Directed by Karel Reisz
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
January 19, 1990

Prize-winning playwright Arthur Miller wrote this original script – his first since The Misfits, in 1961 – so attention must be paid. Just don't expect it to be rewarded. Miller has buried a familiar story about small-town corruption under an avalanche of overblown dialogue. Nick Nolte, an actor whose reputation can survive anything if it survives this, stars as Tom O'Toole, a Boston lawyer turned Connecticut private detective. Angela Crispini, played by Debra Winger, is wooing him to take the case of a young man she believes has been wrongly convicted of beheading his uncle, a respected local doctor.

"You're the most unexpected thing that ever happened to me," Tom tells Angela. No argument. Angela is lavish with her compliments ("If there's any hope in the world, a man like you is it") and her body. For Tom, a widower who lives with his schoolteacher sister (Judith Ivey), Angela's admiration for his "pair of brass balls" is a potent lure. He is less pleased to learn that Angela is a hooker who can count among her customers the dead doc, a druggie religious zealot spotted at the scene of the crime and a DA with presidential ambitions who has rigged the case against the kid. Angela is also a schizophrenic given to berating Tom in a voice out of The Exorcist.

Angela is an impossible role, and Winger, terrific actress though she is, can't make something coherent of it. "You're trying to go north and south and powder your nose at the same time," Tom tells Angela. That's also a fairly accurate description of the movie. Nolte and Winger, together for the first time since the fiasco of Cannery Row in 1982, appear to be getting no help from director Karel Reisz (Isadora). Perhaps Reisz had all he could handle just keeping the threads of the script from unraveling. Miller borrows too many insights from himself: He's covered corruption in All My Sons, the little guy squashed by the system in Death of a Salesman, religious fanaticism in The Crucible and even sexual enthrallment in After the Fall (a thinly veiled autobiographical play about Miller's marriage to Marilyn Monroe). Throwing these themes together only dilutes their power. Worse, the echoes from those earlier, better Miller works remind us of what Everybody Wins is so desperately missing: the ring of truth.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Long Walk Home”

    Bruce Springsteen | 2007

    When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com