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Snow Cake

103 customer reviews

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(Sep 11, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Alan Rickman, Sigourney Weaver, Scott Wickware, John Bayliss, Jackie Laidlaw
  • Directors: Marc Evans
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Ifc
  • DVD Release Date: September 11, 2007
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000R7HY00
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,592 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Snow Cake" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Rudy Palma on January 1, 2008
Format: DVD
An interesting study of the human psyche that pushes all the buttons of its viewers with room to spare, "Snow Cake" is an eye-opening, life affirming experience in the form of an indie film. Marking the screenwriting debut of Angela Pell, it was directed by Marc Evans and screened to heavy fanfare at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival and is at last available on DVD for a wider audience to appreciate.

Fresh off a four year prison stint for a mysterious murder charge, Alex Hughes, played by the fantastic Alan Rickman, is a docile, middle-aged Englishman on the way to Winnipeg, Canada. Not receptive to company after a long plane ride, he is approached in a diner by Vivienne, a young woman with a bubbly personality played by Emily Hampshire. Chatty and extroverted, she invites herself to sit down at his table and tells him all about herself. He is not in the mood to chat, but begrudgingly lets her bum a ride in his truck.

During their trip she eventually gets him to open up, and they establish a lovely rapport. Unfortunately, near the end of their journey they are rammed by a tractor trailer and Vivienne is killed instantly. Rattled and wholly devastated at her loss, Alex is compelled to contact her mother, Linda, played with unprecedented skill by Sigourney Weaver, to explain what happened as well as deliver gifts Vivienne bought.

When he meets Linda, he discovers that she is a high-functioning autistic woman who barely strays from her home and has a myriad of obsessions, among them cleanliness ("Don't go in my kitchen!"), her trampoline and, strangely, snow. Nonetheless upset at her daughter's death, she is inhibited by her disease which tempers her outward devastation. He tries to apologize, but she sees no need for one.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Lake on June 23, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw this movie on PPV and had been waiting for it a long time. I initially wanted to see it because of Alan Rickman (Alec). He was wonderful as usual, but his real genius in this film was to sit back and let Sigourney Weaver (Linda) play off of him. Not that Rickman didn't have his moments, but Weaver was really outstanding. In one scene, Alec is sobbing uncontrollably and Linda looks at him quizzically and asks if there is something wrong with the tea. That's just one little gem of a scene.

Don't look for romantic fireworks or a dramatic ending in this movie. It's just the story of three people with their own secrets brought together by a tragic event. I found myself drawn into their lives, as they were drawn into each other's lives.

Once you see this movie, you will understand why I say it was "dalzious."
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By R. Kyle VINE VOICE on December 8, 2007
Format: DVD
Because she wanted to be a writer and she believed they had the best stories.

She wasn't wrong when she picked Alex Hughes (Alan Rickman) out of all the diner customers to share a table with.

She really wasn't even wrong when she convinced him to give her a ride. The crash that killed her wasn't Alex's fault--a semi driver rammed his car and killed her.

Not knowing what else to do, Alex went to see Vivienne's Mom (Weaver) only to find that she was a high functioning autistic person with no one to care for her. Alex stayed til the funeral was over--and those days really are what the story is about.

Alex merely wants to help. While he doesn't understand Linda's condition, he very well knows the grief of losing a child and by helping her he is also working through his own issues. Rickman's portrayal of Alex may well be his best role in his career--and I have loved his performances for many years.

Weaver is also stellar as Linda. If I didn't know better, I would have said they'd recruited an autistic woman to play the role--and that to me, is the mark of really fine acting. The actor is lost when they become the part.

I cannot say this is a movie I would ever own. I doubt I will see "Snow Cake" again, but I would strongly recommend it to anyone who needs to deal with an autistic person. It's a very good illustration of how a high functioning autistic person relates to their environment.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Allan M. Lees on November 27, 2007
Format: DVD
Every once in a while a movie comes along that is practically perfect, and this is one of those times. Aside from some annoyingly trendy hand-held camera work during the first five minutes of the movie, it doesn't put a foot wrong. All of the actors (even the minor supporting cast) turn in performances to be proud of: under-stated yet touching and convincing at all times. The camera work, once it settles down, is likewise understated but generally just right for each scene and moment. The script is spare and humor is cleverly used to underscore the poignancy. This is a real movie about real people, without a special effect in sight. The longer you watch, the more you want to see. If you want to see a grown-up movie for grown-up people, please watch this sparkling little gem.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ed Uyeshima HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 20, 2007
Format: DVD
A trio of fine veteran actors is on display in this desultory 2007 drama that makes an attempt at emotional uplift but doesn't quite make it. Directed by Marc Evans and written by Angela Pell, this small-scale indie taps into themes of emotional isolation and moving on after a devastating personal loss, subjects covered with greater dexterity and humor by similarly wintry films like Lars and the Real Girl. The story centers on a solitary middle-aged Brit named Alex Hughes, whose veiled bitterness masks a personal tragedy that had led to a prison term. Recently released, he is on a cross-country journey to Winnipeg when he finds himself entangled with a chatty teen-aged hitchhiker named Vivienne seeking passage home to the small Ontario town of Wawa.

A viscerally shocking moment leads Alex quite unexpectedly to meet Vivienne's mother Linda, a high-functioning autistic woman who is manically fastidious and emotionally disconnected from the people around her. Before you can say Rain Man, Alex and Linda forge a friendly alliance in which life lessons are learned, often under adversity, until the two must part. Meanwhile, an attraction is sparked between Alex and Linda's next-door neighbor Maggie, a sultry yet kindly divorcee whom Linda thinks is a prostitute. Give Pell credit for steering clear of the life-affirming clichés that would have marked this as a misplaced Lifetime TV-movie. Pell's personal insights are invaluable given that she has an autistic son. At the same time, Evans' handling of Alex's spiritual reawakening lacks the intensity that would have allowed the film to take flight.
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