Sigourney Weaver, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Alan Rickman star in this film about what happens in the aftermath of a young woman's death. Recently released from prison, Alex (Rickman) offers a ride to a hitchhiker, only to have her killed instantly when their car endures a brutal accident. Alex then approaches the girl's mother, and the events that unfold change his life and other around him dramatically.
Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver form the quintessential indie-film odd couple in this intimately observed drama that makes a memorable detour from the usual high-concept, special effects-laden studio fare. Rickman is in his element as Alex, a morose, laconic ex-con just released from prison. A tragic twist of fate brings him to a Canadian small town and the doorstep of Linda, a functional autistic woman with a decidedly anti-social personality. Weaver is a wonder in a fiercely committed, vanity-free performance. "I don't like normal people," Linda states, and neither does Snow Cake
, the heart of which is clearly with the outcasts and misfits, including Vivienne (Emily Hampshire), Linda's vivacious, hitchhiking daughter, who bums a ride with Alex because he looks lonely ("Lonely people have the best stories," she observes) and Linda's neighbor, Maggie (Carrie-Ann Moss), a nurturing type who is very quick to take damaged soul Alex into her bed. This is a palpably heartfelt project (screenwriter Angela Pell has an autistic daughter) that--the unfortunate title notwithstanding--mostly manages to avoid the cloying or manipulative. The smiling faces pictured on the DVD cover suggest an upbeat romantic comedy, but Snow Cake
is a slice of something much more filling. --Donald Liebenson