It doesn't help that Julia Ormond -- perhaps the most un-Smilla-like actress walking the planet -- is cast in the starring role. She gives a competent performance, but she looks like Nancy Drew's pert-nosed cousin who somehow got trapped while sleuthing inside a snow globe, not the prickly, androgynous warrior Smilla is meant to be.
The A.V. Club
The matter-of-fact way in which the story is presented serves as a constant reminder of how implausible the whole thing is. Add to this the single expression Ormond and Byrne are allowed throughout the film, and you're left with one more weak, confusing, ignorable movie that embarrasses its source.