Director Lasse Hallstrom (My Life as a Dog
, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
, The Cider House Rules
) spoils his most excellent track record with this messy, overtly quirky and pretentious adaptation of E. Annie Proulx’s 1994 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Kevin Spacey straps on yet another sympathetic but off-center character in a movie about the lingering effects of family history that feels more like a movie than anything resembling real life. He plays a newspaper print shop employee who is left to raise a daughter after the death of his wayward wife (Cate Blanchett). He returns to a small Newfoundland fishing village where his family originated, uncovers the dark secret of an aunt (Judi Dench), becomes a mediocre journalist and meets a day-care supervisor (Julianne Moore) who changes his life.