On an icy winter’s day, the lives of the eccentric residents of a Scottish sea-side village come apart, then together again …
Frances, a recently widowed photographer, copes with her loss by refusing to get out of bed, leaving her thoughtful fifteen-year-old son to look after her and himself. But Alex is an adolescent and naturally has other concerns: he is on the brink of sexual awakening and a breathless encounter with Nita, a flirtatious teenage neighbour, marks their first step to adulthood.
Frances's mother Elspeth struggles across frozen hills in a determined effort to defy old age, resolved to win back the trust and affection of her bereaved daughter.
Two elderly friends, Chloe and Lily, consult the obituary columns to choose which funeral they will attend the day before cautiously making their way to the waterfront to wait for a bus that may never come.
Meanwhile Tom and Sam have declared a holiday of their own, skipping school to play on the beach. The boys dare one another to walk out on the frozen expanse of the sea which stretches before them as mysterious and uncertain as their own future.
Bv turns tragic and comic, the story explores the separate and connected lives of these four odd couples representing four generations: the two ladies, the young lovers, the fragile mother and her grieving daughter; the school chums. Each of them is at a cross-roads and all have been touched by the fear, anticipation or unexpected arrival of THE WINTER GUEST.

Director's Biography

Alan Rickman originally trained and worked as a graphic designer, before winning a scholarship to study at The Royal Academv of Dramatic Art.

On stage he has spent two years with the Royal Shakespeare Company and has worked extensively in contemporary theatre including theatre appearances at The Royal Court Theatre, Bush Theatre and Hampstead Theatre Club.

His portrayä1 of Valmont in the RSC production of Christopher Hampton's LES LIASONS DANGEREUSES took him from the West End to Broadway where he was nominated for a Tony award. From here he was approached by producer Joel Silver to make his film debut in DIE HARD. Subsequent film appearances have included Kevin Reynold's PRINCE OF THIEVES for which he won a BAFTA award, Stephen Poliakoff s CLOSE MY EYES and Anthony Minghella's TRULY MADLY DEEPLY. For these films he was named Evening Standard Film Actor of The Year. Other film appearances have included Tim Robbins' BOB ROBERTS, and most recently Ang Lee's SENSE AND SENSIBILITY and Neil Jordan's MICHAEL COLLINS, winning BAFTA nominations for both performances. For his performance in HBO's RASPUTIN, Rickman won Golden Globe, Emmy and SAG awards.

Having directed the play at the Almeida Theatre and The West Yorkshire Playhouse, THE WINTER GUEST is Alan Rickman's feature film directorial debut.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Alan Rickman

Written by: Alan Rickman, Sharman MacDonald

Produced by: Ken Lipper, Edward R Pressman, Steve Clark-Hall

Cinematography: Seamus McGarvey

Editing: Scott Thomas

Production Design: Robin Cameron Don

Costume Design: Joan Bergin

Make-Up & Hair: Morag Ross

Original Score: Michael Kamen

Cast: Phyllida Law (Elspeth), Emma Thompson (Frances), Sheila Reid (Lily), Sandra Voe (Chloe), Arlene Cockburn (Nita), Gary Hollywood (Alex)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Actress 1997