Snowcake (2006)

Reid, 22. May 2007, 22:14

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Carrie-Anne Moss

I think most idiots would enjoy this movie, and I would say Mitchell, Penny and Grace have the best chance of liking it more than I did. Larri and Jill both enjoyed the film. It’s a solid film worth seeing, especially relative to the majority of films released. I’m not saying this is a great film, but I’m fairly certain people will enjoy this, so I’ll say you can see this without knowing more.

This played at the Academy of Arts and the write-up described the film as the “best film you never heard of.” Again, I wouldn’t say this is a great film, but I agree with the description. This is not an art film, but conventional filmmaking that could and should be made via the Hollywood studio system. It’s a film for grown-ups–not all pandering to the teen market. There are other films that are in a similar vein–Tully, Running on Empty and Man in the Moon. All of these are relatively obscure, smaller films that are basically Hollywood films–only well-done.

The film is about a man who visits a mother of a girl who has recently died. Both have problems of their own, but manage to help each other in the process. I’m purposely being vague because I want to give as little information as possible. But for those who don’t care about knowing more details–let me give you a more specific description:

The man picks up a hitchhiker and is hit by a truck, which kills the hitchhiker. Feeling guilty (even though it’s not his fault), he goes to look for the hitchiker’s mother. Finding her, he discovers she’s autistic. He stays to help her with the funeral.

There are several things that stand out about this film. First, Sigourney Weaver’s performance as an autistic mother. I’m tired of roles like this because I think it’s overdone, and people think it’s more difficult than it actually is. Anyway, I like Weaver’s performance, in general, because it wasn’t so over-the-top. The performance wasn’t noteworthy because she could accurately portray an autistic person, but because the character was more important than the performance, if you know what I mean.

Second, the film avoids going in melodramatic and cheesy directions that many Hollywood films so easily take. That was really refreshing. The film wasn’t perfect, nor was it entirely fresh–the subject matter about a man trying to find redemptition and forgiveness with the help of a “holy fool” is hardly original–but it works. And it works partly because the filmmakers manage to key things subtle, low-key and realistic. For example, they don’t have to make Rickman and Moss run off into the sunset.

Some other comments. I thought Alan Rickman did a good job, but I would have enjoyed seeing Judd Hirsch in this role. Also, I thought the film should have ended after the shot of Weaver’s character eating the snow cake from her knife. To me that should have been the ending; it punctuated the film by revealing the significance of the title. If they really wanted to show Rickman’s character, they might have shown the scene with him looking into the sunset before the snow cake scene.

2 Responses to “Snowcake (2006)”

  1. pen

    I wanted to like this movie more.


    There is a lot to like about this quiet movie. The performances by Alan Rickman, Sigourney Weaver and Carrie Ann Moss hit all the right notes. The young girl who plays Vivienne is also very good. She is so obviously a bright light . . . a “sparkly” in this world, and even though we do not get to see a lot of her in the film, it is enough to realize that the world is a little darker place now that this sparkly was taken away.

    There are some unexpected turns in this movie. Not dramatic twist type of moments, but you think you’re going down one road, then you realize you’re meandering down a different road. Not exactly surprising, but not foreseen either.

    This is a gentle movie. About healing, forgiveness, acceptance (of oneself as well as others’ flaws) and moving on beyond your hurts. It is also about how human beings have a powerful need to connect with one another. I usually like movies like that, so I do not know why I am not more enthusiastic about this one. Frankly, it puzzles me. I have a difficult time finding any real fault with the movie, either. The only thing I can think of right now is that the pacing was a bit too slow in places, but I think much of that was deliberate.

  2. Reid

    I’m pretty surprised that you didn’t like it more, too. Maybe you were tired?

    Do you agree that this is a film that fell through the cracks–specifically for mainstream audiences?

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