Sight and Sound - 05/01/1991
"...[The] visual precision...lends an objective reality to the symbolic drama..."
New York Times - 01/20/1990
"...A mess, but an often entertaining one, put together by people of talent....A first-rate cast, headed by [Nolte and Winger]..."
In EVERYBODY WINS, directed by Karel Reisz from a screenplay by Arthur Miller, Debra Winger plays Angela Crispini, a dim woman who believes that corrupt court officials convicted an innocent boy of murder. The story comes from Miller's one act play, SOME KIND OF LOVE STORY, which generated speculation about whether the mercurial, always acting Angela Crispini character was based on his ex-wife Marilyn Monroe. But here, Miller changes the play's title to the highly ironic EVERYBODY WINS and skirts the topic. Angela Crispini hires Tom O'Toole (Nick Nolte), a private detective known for working on wrongful conviction cases, to help obtain a new trial for Felix ( Frank Military), a teenager convicted of the murder of his uncle. As the detective, Nolte slowly falls for the seductive Angela as she reveals more details of the case, dropping hints that make him suspect that she's in some way involved.
While the detective as a moral outsider pulling the masks off hypocritical authorities has become something of an American cliche, Miller steers away from the whodunit aspects, concentrating on the love affair, and Angela's shaky footing. Winger does an impressive job in a near split personality part that requires rapid shifting from one characterization to another. Miller provides a more character-driven detective story than is usual in the genre, but not one without suspense.
Almost 30 years after he wrote THE MISFITS, Arthur Miller returned to film with the screenplay for EVERYBODY WINS.
This surreal, noir thriller focuses on private investigator Tom O'Tool, who arrives in the small New England town of Highbury to investigate a murder. He quickly connects with Angela, a local neurotic who, after proclaiming a vow of chastity, goes to bed with O'Tool. Angela is convinced that the young boy accused of the murder is innocent. But Tom has his work cut out for him, because the town of Highbury is an odd, corrupt place, and getting to the bottom of things is nearly impossible.