Monday, March 31, 2008

Snow Cake

Release Date:
8 Sep 2006 (UK)

Marc Evans

Angela Pell

Alan Rickman (Alex Hughes)
Emily Hampshire (Vivienne Freeman)
Sigourney Weaver (Linda Freeman)
Carrie-Anne Moss (Maggie)

IMDb link and rating:

Plot Synopsis:
A man survives a deadly auto accident with a young woman he just met. When, grieving for her death, he goes to apologize to her family, his life becomes enmeshed with her autistic mother.


(viewed SA 29 Mar 2008)
Of course I liked the cast of this movie; Alan Rickman, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Sigourney Weaver are all accomplished actors. I simply wasn’t grabbed by the story. There was senseless tragedy in the form of two auto accidents, a little bit of irony which contributed to Hughes arriving at forgiveness (of himself and others), and a brief intersection of lives (with the beautiful and readily available neighbor, Maggie) that didn’t amount to much and wasn’t particularly convincing.

Also, the movie suffers from what I think of as “Rain Man syndrome.” Weaver may very well have done a magnificent job capturing the essence of autism, but how would I know? Or more to the point, for what purpose? I am mostly interested in characters that say something general or universal about humanity. Of course, I have no objection to the presence of characters that have handicaps or physical malfunctions, but I certainly would not gush about how brilliant or sensitive an actor must be to handle the part. It strikes me as relatively easy because the gimmick is the thing. So, by “Rain Man syndrome” I mean that I much prefer Dustin Hoffman’s performance in Marathon Man than in Rain Man.

(viewed SA 29 Mar 2008)
I mostly disagree with Stephen’s review. First, I think the overall theme of the movie, that human beings are capable of connecting in the strangest and strongest of ways, is pretty universal. Tragedy sometimes happens. Life is Good. More universals.

For me, the forced issue was mostly that of the curmudgeon, Rickman, falling so quickly under the spell of the hitchhiker. He smiled too easily, laughed too readily for believability (however, this may have more to do with my “always Severus” viewing of Mr. Rickman, whom I had cast in the part of Snape in my mind long before the Philosopher’s Stone became the Sorcerer’s Stone and any movie deal was discussed). After the accident, I was able to appreciate his character’s motivation much better. I suppose since the movie was mostly about what happens later, this “quick to thaw” aspect of his character was necessary.

Regarding Sigourney Weaver’s role, I thought it was interesting. What she lacked in consistency (looking, not looking in the eye; understanding, not understanding how some relationships worked), she more than made up for in showing that life, even for those who lack the ability to form a loving relationship, could be wondrous. Simple, but joyful at times. Okay, the sexy, sex-loving neighbor was convenient – but, hey - it could happen.

I really just enjoyed watching Rickman’s character plod through the mine fields of autistic behaviors with determination and benevolence despite his own demons.

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