By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
In the new drama “Wonder Wheel,”
from director and screenwriter Woody Allen
(“Café Society), Kate Winslet (“The Mountain Between Us”)
stars as a depressed waitress working at a funky, little fish joint on Coney Island during the 1950s.
At one point in her life, Ginny Rannell (Winslet) dreamed of being a big-time actress. Then reality set in and along came her husband appropriately named Humpty (Jim Belushi, TV’s “Twin Peaks” ) because he looks like a big, fat egg.
To say Ginny and Humpty’s marriage is strained is an understatement. And it becomes even more tumultuous when Humpty’s estranged daughter, Caroline (Juno Temple, TV’s “Vinyl”) arrives at their doorstep.
Caroline is a real piece of work. She’s more broken than Ginny and has some serious problems to contend with like mobsters (Tony Sirico, Paul “Paulie Walnuts) and Steve Schirripa (TV’s “Blue Bloods”) who are out to get her.
The family dysfunction doesn’t end there either. Ginny’s preteen son, Richie (Jack Gore, “Ferdinand” and TV’s “Billions”) is a pyromaniac which leads to explosive confrontations between him and Humpty.
Yet oddly enough, Ginny seems like a good catch for Mickey (Justin Timberlake, “Trolls”), the Coney Island lifeguard, aspiring writer and “Wonder Wheel” narrator. Why anyone would want to get caught up in this family’s messy life is a mystery, but Mickey carries on a romantic relationship with Ginny. It’s certainly more fulfilling than what she has going with Humpty.
At least until Mickey lays eyes on Caroline.
Winslet is the heart of “Wonder Wheel” and carries the film even when the overcooked script lets her down.
However, as good as her performance is here and as dazzling as “Wonder Wheel” is to look at thanks to cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, it lacks the verve and wonderment of Allen’s other accomplished films like “Midnight in Paris” and “Blue Jasmine.”
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Check Out This Trailer For "WONDER WHEEL"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.