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  • I was able to see this as part of the recent Autism Cymru conference, and can honestly say that this is one of the best films I have seen for years. It somehow maintains a balance between the drama, the need to establish Weaver's character without mawkishness or making her a complete freak, and a rite of passage for Rickman's character. There was no point at which I doubted the authenticity of the character's experiences. It does help to know something about autism (I am a parent of someone with ASD and parts of this were so true it hurt) but not compulsory, and I would heartily recommend it to dispel some myths! I can't really tell you more without giving it all away - go and see it! Snow Cake is both poignant and rib-achingly funny in parts.

    We were also fortunate to meet the writer, the director and the autistic woman who "coached" Sigourney Weaver. Absolutely fascinating. I can't wait for this to be released and will be buying the DVD for friends and family.
  • Snow Flake is a tale of insulated lives thrown into contact, of insights that that are almost (but not quite) incommunicable, of the power of unusual friendships, of people defying what is expected of them and sometimes of what they would expect of themselves, and of finding a strength in themselves and others as a result. And if that sounds clichéd, you have to go and see it to believe it.

    Sigourney Weaver is from a different world, one not unlike our own. She's not battling Aliens or living in a sectarian time-shift Village, but the world into which she brings us is as weird, and dazzling enough for my jaw to drop after watching her for just a few minutes. Her presence jumps off the screen with such vividness that, even though I had read the storyline, I knew it was going to surpass my expectations. Her character is fascinated by things that sparkle, can juggle numbers with unnerving rapidity, inhabits a universe of extreme precision that brooks no infraction, and no uncleanliness: and she's only barely tolerant of your world. This is the world of Linda Freeman, high-functioning autistic.

    There are two sides to Linda: the world she lives in is undoubtedly extraordinary - her version of Scrabble leaves Alan Rickman's character (Alex Hughes) looking severely unevolved - but it is balanced by her lack of empathy for 'normal' people. What makes Weaver's performance so remarkable is that she conveys the logical certitude of Linda's position with such force that we, like Alex, start feeling a bit dumb. Why do we go through such irrelevant tea-and-ham-sandwiches rituals after a death? Why can't we feel the joy we felt as children when we discovered snow in our hands, or the thrill of a trampoline as our body is launched into space? Why do we struggle to remember simple facts? The drawbacks of Linda's world (apart from most people not being able to reach it) is that she cannot cope with the imperfections that the rest of us would shrug off. If the dog leaves a stain on her carpet she will have simply have to 'move house', and the only kind of job she can get is one where her obsessive need for order can find a simplistic outlet (she stacks shelves in a supermarket, with mathematical precision and attention). If Rain Man was the gold-medallist of autism, Linda Freeman is simply a non-glamorised regular sportswoman, and in that she conveys a more real person than any Hollywood-ised super-character.

    Alex (Alan Rickman) opens the film, flicking poignantly at a small photo as he sits out a long flight. We have no clue as to who the person in the picture is, or why he seems to be encased in his own intense thoughts. Later, we see him in a transport café, approached by a bubbly young girl who is determined to break down his wall of silence. She wants to write a book and make loads of money - by finding the right areas of pain and suffering to focus on. Her apparent insensitivity is quickly tempered when she admits she admits she needs a lift but has picked the loneliest looking person because she really thinks he "needs to talk". Alex reluctantly gives her a lift. She is soon singing the 70's rock song All Right Now at the top of her voice, but things are far from all right. One car crash and an added truckload of emotional baggage later, Alex is arriving on Linda's doorstep and destined to be her guest for more than a few hours. Our storyline is further complicated by the seductively attractive Maggie (Carrie-Ann Moss) who has her eye on Alex. He first assumes she is a prostitute (she reminded me of the classy call-girl Inara, from Serenity) but accepts a 'neighbourly' invitation for dinner.

    Rickman is at his best. The wry tongue-in-cheek humour seen in many of his films gives way to a sardonic realism that is even funnier because it is more true to real life. A very down to earth script ensures the laughs are grounded (Love Actually but without the unbelievability), even if in most cases Rickman is principally a foil for other characters: such as when Linda likens eating snow to an orgasm or Maggie breaks off dinner because she hates having sex on a full stomach.

    We soon realise that Linda's childlike behaviour thinly disguises a penetrating intelligence, but her intelligence doesn't enable her to solve everyday problems such as putting the rubbish out. She has emotional insight, even consideration, but her world is as isolated from ours as ours is from hers, even with her ability to reel off facts and figures. One is reminded of a recent study that suggested that emotional intelligence may serve people better in the workplace than a Mensa certificate.

    Rickman's character struggles with Canadian distances in a typically British manner. "It didn't look far on the map," he exclaims hopelessly. He is out of his depth geographically and emotionally but, obsessed with his own inadequacies, is open to seeing things differently. The landscape whiteness, at first cold and unwelcoming, starts to seem beautiful. Maggie allows Alex to open emotionally whereas Linda, through the intellectual effort he makes to reach her, enables him to rationalise the process and come to terms with his feelings. Linda is a doorway to seeing things differently - "I'm half outside, half inside," she says as she hovers on the porch and we puzzle whether she is being dippy or intentionally defusing a difficult situation. The mathematical way she describes needing a hug reassures us that she is human, but by then we have learnt a whole new attitude of respect. Snow Cake is a very personal film, not a blockbuster, but a few more films like this could enrich the way we see ourselves.
  • If you think this is one of those dull and oh-so-PC movies about autistic people, think again! Nothing could be further from the reality. 'Snow Cake', much to my surprise and delight, turned out to be an exhilarating, sexy, poignant, movie that was full of love, redemption, and healing. And no, don't worry, the sex wasn't with the autistic character! I had heard about this movie the other day on BBC Radio 4, when Sigourney Weaver was interviewed on 'Women's Hour', I think it was. Whatever the radio show--- even that interview made it sound a bit 'well meaning' and earnest. And that makes for one dull-ass movie! Therefore, while the interview raised my desire from zero to maybe 35 percent, I still was hesitant to go and see it.

    I wish I had proper words to describe what a masterpiece this is. And it was a masterpiece, perhaps, because it was NOT obviously 'arty' or 'important'. It was about people. Real people. Wounded people. Alan Rickman delivered what is perhaps the best role of his career. Sigourney Weaver's performance as the lady with autism was so seamless that if I didn't know better, I'd think she WAS autistic. And the young woman who played the daughter, Emily Hamspshire I think her name is--- she was a refreshing dose of realism. We should watch for her as a rising new star. And Carrie-Anne Moss was fantastic as the sex interest.

    This movie is simple and straightforward. Yet, nothing was predictable, either. I just loved it. This is exactly the kind of movie treasure that movie lovers usually can only dream of finding. And to think, I only saw it 'accidentally', because I had already seen everything else at the cinema.

    I am SO glad I went! The movie, I promise, is NOT about autism, or how we treat sufferers, or any other boring PC diatribe. It is about ME. And YOU. It's about all of us, and our hearts, and the inspiration and healing and good luck that we all yearn for, and we all deserve. Now, after this movie, the picture of what is possible is bigger, clearer, and stronger for me. Now THAT is a gift to me! Thank you, cast and makers of 'Snow Cake'!
  • pisces_water19 April 2006
    I have just come back from the screening of Snow Cake at the Hong Kong Film Festival, it is one of the two closing films. I have to say, I didn't expect much from this film at first, or perhaps it is because I do not know what to expect from it. The reason I went to see this mainly because of Alan Rickman (yes I am a Alan fan, so even the movie turns out to be disappointing I can enjoy Alan Rickman's acting ;]), but my friend whom I forced to accompany me is not. I was worried that she won't like it.

    But my worries were gone as the film flows, I smiled, I laugh, and even got tears in my eyes. I left the screening with a smile on my face and a warm and cosy feeling at heart. Even me friend loved it. This movie has depth yet makes you laugh and smile. And Now I am dying to watch it again.

    Alan Rickman is wonderful as usual, his talent deserves an Oscar nod someday. Signourey Weaver is pretty good, though some of you said that her portrayal of autistic people is inaccurate, I am not sure. Carrie Anne Moss is cool but, well I guess it is hard for her to outshine Alan and Signourey . I love the script, the lines are funny and thought provoking at the same time. It makes you think AND laugh.

    All in all impressive and beautiful.
  • cmagorrianbarnes012 April 2006
    i just went to see this film in the Belfast film festival. it was possibly one of the most beautiful films i have ever seen. as a self confessed Rickman obsessive i was always going to see the film but i was not a fan of ms weaver therefore was not expecting an amazing experience. i was so wrong. ms weaver has produced one of the most amazing performances i have ever seen in a film. i place it in line with Liam Neeson in Schindler's list, Russel crow in a beautiful mind and of course in rain man the amazing Dustin Hoffman. she is just amazing. i cried and laughed comfortably in her situations and i did not feel at any stage that this was a cheap imitation and mockery of a person suffering form autism. i just couldn't believe it. Alan Rickman was of course his amazing self. his presence on the screen always pleases me no matter what he is in. this film however was again different from any other. unlike the usual Rickman character of which you can expect sarcasm such as in love actually or close my eyes and a deviousness such as harry potter or robin hood , or even a warm loving character such as colonel Brandon.this time we are presented with an all round character in which Mr Rickman's talents shine unbelievably and i believe that you can see a contentedness in his acting. the character is lovable, curious, devious, hilarious, sentimental and of course understandable. his actions are understood by all. the scenery in the film was amazing and the music sublime. the atmosphere was just perfect for a film with such hard hitting lessons. the meaningful statements from the deceased Vivianne and the innocent and wise statements from Linda are truly memorable and made me think. instead of leaving the cinema with an over powering sense of wow and over the top excitement usually collected from a Hollywood motion picture such as in a false star wars or lord of the rings, i left with a sense of questioning and self analysis. i felt comfortable to stay silent in thought and express little of my emotions. i did not feel the need to over emphasise its greatness until i had thought about it thorough;y.

    anyone who reads this. please please please please go see snow cake if it is on near you as this amazing movie needs and deserves complete recognition form all of us fellow film viewers.

    totally amazing!!
  • lloyd-constable-111 September 2006
    This film is just a beautiful story that made me laugh and cry. Sigourney was just fantastic, have never seen her better. I was so lucky to meet her in Edinburgh where she did a 'reel life' interview about her career. Sigourney described how in depth she studied the role and was nervous about not being able to do it, which took her out of her comfort zone. All I would like to say is all the hard work was worth it. The scene where Linda dances at the wake just got my heart, I felt I was transported into Linda's world and you cannot ask more from a film.

    It was so good to see a film without ego, cgi or violence, just a gentle take on extreme circumstances. Please please please go see this film and even if it is just to find out what 'DAZLIOUS' means!
  • noisetree15 September 2006
    I saw Snow Cake last night at the Toronto Film Festival.

    The Film is excellent - I wouldn't change a frame. It is beautifully directed and full of refined touches - great script - great score- and the acting by Rickman and Weaver is nuanced and outstanding.

    The film conveys a very real portrait of small town (Wawa) Ontario - and nails the feeling of small town social politics, with its outward conformity vs begrudged acceptance of "strange behaviour". It also captures the stillness - the slowing of time - that one feels in a small town up north.

    See this Film. You'll really love it
  • Many people have very warped ideas of Autism and the way it changes peoples lives. This film really shows how wrongly people can judge someone just on the fact the have a label of 'autistic'. The writer has definitely showed the funny side and made the film such a joy to watch. It is not only heart-warming and moving but a great insight to the lives of not only people suffering from autism but the people around them too.

    Snowcake is a must see for anyone who enjoys to watch a well written all-round good film! You will have a tear in your eye one moment and laughing the next! FANTASTIC!
  • justin-dowling19 September 2006
    I wasn't looking forward to seeing this film and got dragged along at the last minute - I knew it was going to be emotionally heavy and it was. I must say though that I think it's brilliant; at one point I had to hold back the tears - and nothing normally ever makes me cry. I also laughed. Apart from that, the story is amazing, the acting is top notch and the 'scenery' and mood is evocative. Whilst I didn't think Weaver or Rickman were the best choices or the most convincing people for the roles they were certainly excellent - but what do I know eh? it worked, and that's good enough for me. Watch it.

    NB: I hadn't eaten and had been drinking the night before and my woman was giving me static - so I was in a pretty low mood, so maybe that's the way to go when you watch this film, be at a low ebb yourself and it will sink in a little bit more and maybe tug the heart strings a little bit more.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Snowcake" is a slightly offbeat movie in the same vein as "Sideways" and "Broken flower", offering a good mix of humour and poignancy as well as thoughtful insight into human nature. It leans towards being out of the ordinary but does not go overboard to be bizarre. It takes place in Wawa, Ontario, a small town (population of several thousand) that reflects the rugged beauty of "North of Superior" (see IMDb listing). Prominently featured in several scenes is the 28-foot tall sculpture Canada Goose that marks the entrance to the town. I have not been to Wawa, but had once come within a hundred miles, from the Sault St. Marie side.

    One of the three main protagonists is an outsider, Alex Hughes (Alan Rickman), who picks up a hitchhiker, teenager Vivienne Freeman (Emily Hampshire) on her way home to Wawa. Aspiring to be a writer, she approaches Alex with the belief that since he looks so lonely, he must have a good story of his life to tell. Tragically, Vivienne never gets home as their car gets into an accident which leaves Alex unscathed but kills her. The rest of the story happens in the ensuing week in Wawa, where Alex tries to help Vivienne's autistic mother Linda (Sigourney Weaver) arrange the funeral. Through interaction with Linda and other inhabitants of this town, Alex finds absolution from a guilt that has been weighting heavily on him. The number one key character of "Snowcake", however, is unquestionably Linda.

    Rather than getting into all the details that should be left for the viewers to enjoy, I would just mention some of the interesting aspects of this movie. The biggest challenge is to make Linda believable. An average moviegoer is not expected to have much experience with an autistic person. The closest impression one gets is probably the "Rain man" version. If Dustin Hoffman was good enough with his performance to win an Oscar, Weaver certainly is also, for "Snowcake". At her first appearance, at her doorstep answering Alex's knock, Linda does not appear to have been grieved, acknowledging almost in a matter-of-fact manner that she heard about the death of her daughter two hours ago. It isn't until towards the end of the movie, after we have spent a considerable amount of time with Linda, that we begin to understand that perhaps she can retain in a corner of her mind a much more solid picture of her lost daughter than a normal person can. This becomes clear in the "dancing" scene at the post-funeral gathering at Linda's place. In a sense, she has not really lost Vivienne.

    Linda doesn't "do socials", as she explains to Alex right at the beginning. At times she seems closed to everything around her but she is not entirely unreachable. At times (especially on important things) she is more sensible than "normal" people, such as in the way she deals with her daughter's death. At other times, she is irritating, or even exasperating, but endearingly so. Sounds absurd but just watch Weaver make this character believable – it's a Sigourney Weaver you've never seen before.

    Also never seen before is Carrie-Anne Moss, playing warm hearted neighbour Maggie with sensuousness in such a mellowed sort of way that will make you gasp. All of a sudden, you realise that watching too much "Alien" and "Matrix" has blurred your perception to what these two wonderful actresses are capable of. I am not too surprised that so many people go to see Snowcake just because of Rickman. They will of course be delighted to get a lot more than Rickman, but he alone is a good enough reason. Although not quite to the extent of Murray's minimalism in "Broken Flowers", Rickman plays a remorseful man with subdued hesitancy. It's when Alex interacts with Linda that they both come to life. In addition to those three, there is an excellent supporting cast, particularly Emily Hampshire.

    One final word: somewhere in the middle of the movie, there is one moment when the audience of the show I attended broke out in spontaneous, thunderous applause. You should have no problem recognizing it – Rickman was speaking – and you'll probably get the same reaction in your show anyway.

    I am not sure when "Snowcake" will be screened commercially or go to the film festival in your city. But when it does, don't miss it.
  • kevin652710 February 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    I saw this at the opening of the Berlinale, and I liked it a lot.

    Simple story, solid acting, lovable characters. there are moments to make u cry and laugh. The audience and the German Press generally receive it very well. Weaver's and Rickmann's acting deserves Oscar nominations. Rickmann should not just be remembered for Professor Snape in Harry Potter.... He is just very charming in this film. very convincing.

    and I do love the snowcake at the end of the movie.... a simple cinematic surprise which works.

    More films to be seen in Berlinale. let's see if Rickmann and Wwaver will go home with bears.... :)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Snow Cake this afternoon and immediately wanted to see it again as I thought that it was a wonderful film. Given the subject matter it could have been beyond mawkish; instead it was a perfect blend of tragedy and comedy.

    The principal characters were as diverse as they were interesting and the audience immediately cared what happened to them - always a sign of a good film. Alan Rickman was just perfect as Alex - the role needed someone who could carry the weight of his past while dealing with this latest hand thrown to him by fate. I loved the way he came to care for Linda by the end of the film. I think that this is definitely one of Mr Rickman's best roles since AN AWFULLY BIG ADVENTURE

    Sigourney Weaver was amazing - she played her part in such a way that her Autism bothered everyone else a lot more than it did her. (Is this a common feature of Autism - I am sorry to say that I have no idea). The fact that she is unable to outwardly show her grief for her daughter serves to underline how vulnerable she is and this, coupled with her childlike enjoyment of life, warms the heart of the audience.

    The setting too is magnificent. Especially the setting sun scene at the lake.

    I would urge anyone who likes something as different as it could be from the Hollywood blockbuster to go and see this classy film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    An absolutely amazing film, I just saw it at SIFF.

    A great film, Alan Rickman does an amazing performance, and you actually believe Sigourney weaver is autistic, Carrie-Anne Moss is also good, and Emily Hampshire gives an extrodornary performance for such a small part, although it does set the tone for the film, In my opinion if the opportunity presents itself to see this film take it, it's absolutely stunning, and it makes you believe Marc Evans is the world's greatest director when really he's just starting out.

    Today most films, especially dramas, are easy to have predictable endings and character origins, but this one really surprised me, from the beginning of the film you hear that Alex "killed someone" this made me believe he didn't kill them and possibly an autistic man he lost his patience with, when in all actuality he accidentally killed the man who killed the son he never knew. An amazing film with stellar performances from a stellar cast, you need to see it.
  • francesco-cantamessa10 February 2006
    I just got back from the premiere of this movie at the Berlinale. It's a little story about the friendship of man, Alex, who still can't forget a mysterious, traumatizing past, and an autistic woman, Linda (S. Weaver). The humanness of Alex, and the deep sadness of being aware of what happened, contrasts with the fairy-tale-like world of Linda, who seems to live with no consciousness for the past or the future, avoiding suffering and flying light in the world just like a snow flake. The performances of the actors, of Rickman in particular, are outstanding, and the characters are showed with intimacy and delicate attention to details. The close ups face Carrie- Anne Moss, a kind of (unrealistic) femme fatale in the middle of nowhere, gently whispering in dim light, are worth the ticket. But i didn't completely buy the script. Shouldn't it be more difficult for Alex to get into Linda's house? Shouldn't a man which such a traumatic past behave like an eighteenth century English gentleman? Morever, as far as I know about psychiatry, Linda is a mixture of mental disease stereotypes, more than an actual autistic. I gave 7, because I liked the effort of making of a tragic story a kind of hymn to life, sometimes even funny.
  • 2006 November 9 "Snow Cake"

    Its is easy to live your life and see what you want to see. We usually never try, we never want to go deeper into other people problems. We pretend that we are good persons, "I'll help him, poor guy". I hope this phrase is said in your life for no reason, because most times it is said to help yourself actually. We wanna be loved, we don't want to have any bad mood. "I help him, later he'll help me" thats the case and it's most popular. This film is very rich of positive thoughts, though most of you will not agree, but i can't think of more honest thoughts than of thinking about helping other and forget about money, power, your well-being. There were no of these things here. It made me think of what a scumbag i am. Running always on my path, and running away from who knows who. People change. I will be thinking about this for a long time. For those who haven't seen this film yet and saying "what a hell he's writing here" I advise don't bother to watch it. Better drink your cola and buy a ticket to "Fast and furious". For those who believes in what i say, thank you, your my friend and i hope there are more of such a kind.

    Brilliant film
  • tedg10 July 2011
    Warning: Spoilers
    Sometimes the folding is just too contrived. It panders, insults with its obviousness.

    Here we have a professional man, who in a car accident loses the child he has but has never met. The story arranges for compound suffering.

    Then we have the loss of a child of another in a similar car accident (with him as the driver this time), and his healing by meeting his counterpart, the child's mother.

    The film follows the subgenre of 'special person' coming into your life and allowing you to see it in perspective. The folding mechanism is that we watch this special person in the being of the on screen watcher. As he is changed, we are as well, or so the theory goes.

    The watcher is Rickman, doing well. The special person is Weaver, playing an autistic. She does less well, not following the advice in 'Tropic Thunder' of how to handle such roles.

    Given the pedestrian form, the writing is pretty tight. The 'snowcake' of the title is very well conceived as a device and rolled out effectively.

    Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I very rarely watch offbeat independent Films, due to the fact that so many seem to be overly worthy,PC & pretentious, 'Snow Cake' seemed to fit into all three categories - but decided I would watch purely on it starring Alan Rickman & Sigourney Weaver.....I'm very glad I did, it's a very well written & acted film, which seemed to have been criminally overlooked.

    Alex Hughes (Alan Rickman) is a man recently released from Prison after killing a man, and finds himself sitting next to a pretty young girl Vivienne Freeman (Emily Hampshire)at a truck stop Cafe, after much persuasion Vivienne manages to get Alex to give her a lift back home, Tragedy strikes en route as a lorry crashes into Alex's Car, Alex himself is luckily left without a scratch, Vivienne is sadly killed instantly. Alex feels immense guilt over the girl's death and goes to see her Mother Linda (Sigourney Weaver) to offer his condolences, at his arrival he notices that Linda is Mentally handicapped and suffers from severe Autism, and she manages to get Alex to stay with her to sort out the girl's funeral & put out the bins as she 'dosen't do garbage'

    This does sound very depressing, but It's actually funny & sad in equal measure, Weaver gives a career best performance as the Autistic Mother and is greatly believable, Rickman is very understated but also gives a wonderful performance as the driver who seeks some sort of redemption - despite the car accident not being his fault.

    Co-starring Carrie-anne Moss (The Matrix) as Maggie, Linda's oversexed neighbour who Alex begins a sexual relationship & Directed by Welshman Marc Evans, who includes songs by Welsh bands in the picture - this is a truly wonderful film that's well worth watching and nowhere near as depressing or PC as it sounds

    **** out of *****
  • Warning: Spoilers
    ...thanks to a fine script by newcomer Angela Pell and adept direction from Brit Marc "I'm not a household name" Evans that delineates the personal healing of a wounded soul (superbly played by Alan "Die Hard" Rickman) when he meets the autistic mother (Sigourney "you ought to know by now" Weaver) of a young woman who has died in his company (the very winning Emily "Ruby Gloom" Hampshire), as well as a concerned neighbor (Carrie-Anne "Fido" Moss) who proves more nurturing than one might otherwise expect. Shot in Canada and pretty much released direct-to-video, "Snow Cake" is one of those odd character-driven films like "Transamerica" and "Broken Flowers" that entrusts a decidedly non-mainstream screenplay to an off-the-radar director and a coterie of accomplished actors with remarkably satisfying results.

    I love discovering films like "Snow Cake," and am thankful that talents like Weaver, Rickman, and Moss are willing to tackle them. I love enjoying the work of journeymen like cinematographer Steve "Durham County" Cosens who fruitfully labor outside the limelight of celebrity and deliver results that match or exceed those of their more famous counterparts. Most of all, I enjoy experiencing the fruition of efforts by talented unknowns like Ms. Pell.

    This is not to say that "Snow Cake" has no faults, script- or otherwise. At times the fades/edits clearly indicate a narrative structure adaptable to commercial television presentation. The score by Broken Social Scene is often overtly manipulative, if not downright cloying. Some of the premises of the film seem a bit forced (cf. the Rickman/Moss romance). Nonetheless, "Snow Cake" has far more to recommend it than not. The three leads are at the top of their game (disregard any comments you see that claim Ms. Weaver is "acting" rather than "being"), the storyline is engagingly peppered with quality dialog that actually has something to say, and I'm hard pressed to recall a film in which the significance of the title is revealed so late in the plot and yet carries such resonance throughout.

    There's nothing here for action fans to see; move along, please. "Snow Cake" is a lovingly realized character piece, well-crafted despite whatever weaknesses it may have, and easily worth the several hours spent with it by open-minded viewers. The DVD features include deleted scenes (most for obvious reasons) and trailer. Recommended to all who enjoy life-affirming tales that refuse to condescend.
  • How often do you encounter a film that you want to watch again as soon as you have just finished watching it? How often does a film about the range of human interaction, including the 'disability' of unconventional communication, not become a hindrance to enjoyment? How often do we get the opportunity to see an eclectic gathering of some of the most iconic actors ('Alien', 'Harry Potter', 'The Matrix) of our time in an art-house, 'minority' movie about philosophical issues, instead of big-budget Hollywood-studio stereotypical scenarios? What happens if you make an intelligent, optimistic, puzzle film, encompassing every emotion, plus with a heart, but omit bias, moralising and lecturing? Is such a film possible?

    Wow! If you have never even thought to ask these questions you will be amazed by this film, and if you have asked these questions, then this film is the reward that other people thought them too and knew how to manifest them perfectly!

    Total respect to all responsible for this unique and delicious masterpiece. :)
  • Here is a film that sets an example in the field of attention to detail. This film has probably had its concept born, its idea written down, the idea then transformed into a screenplay and then that screenplay has been re-written a couple of times to include every single tiny meaning and attention to detail possible; some the audiences will notice and some who will not as they're either too quick or they're just caught up in the brilliance that is the rest of the film.

    When I say attention to detail, I mean the in-depth study of characters. I was asking several questions as to why certain characters were acting the way they were towards others and just when I thought "there's something the film has done wrong", it went back and answered my question twenty minutes later. Without giving anything away, I couldn't work out why Alex (Rickman) was so antagonistic towards the truck driver but the film answers the question near the end when Alex's past tragedy becomes clear; also, the attention to the characters in particular was outstanding. Vivienne (Hampshire) has the interesting quirk of putting her McDonalds fries in her burger and then eating it, Linda (Weaver) is able to identify that Alex is wearing her 'third favourite sweater' and all throughout the film, sounds and noises in the background of dogs barking, birds chirping and distant traffic puts us there.

    I got the feeling that before every take whilst shooting; the filmmakers thought of everything they possibly could to either hint at past and unseen events or just ask themselves 'this situation has arisen – what would happen' and this is where the script being re-written and thought through on such an impressive level comes in that it's hard to think of another recent film that is as impressive as this. I loved the way the film actually re-starts after about fifteen minutes following an action that even I was surprised by; I loved the way that during Alex and Vivienne's journey, we are given time out to see side shots of massive trucks suddenly blur by, emphasising the seemingly random and unnecessary. It seems ironic that the film has that certain 'snowy' look to it and the exterior shots that feel like absolute white allows you to actually 'see' the cold rather than feel it since if we're watching a film in a warm room, we can't feel what the characters are feeling.

    Another strong point is the cast. Having Alan Rickman, Sigourney Weaver and Carrie-Ann Moss away from trying to either blow up John McLane, fight off Aliens or box a bunch of Agent Smiths is a real treat and you quickly forget who's who – these are really recognisable faces in a film you don't expect them to be in and for me to forget who they are and just accept them as characters is really impressive. The film uses an impressive array of techniques to get across its effectiveness – the first proper interaction between Alex and Maggie (Moss) is in a room full of red, signalling danger – there are red curtains, red candles, they're even drinking red wine and what with Linda already labelling her a prostitute, we are suddenly weary. I especially liked the way that Alex and Maggie's lakeside conversation was intercut with shots of melting ice coming apart as Alex himself describes how his life melted away and came apart when he suffered his past tragedy – again, attention to detail is the key here as a seemingly straight forward conversation has been thought through with shots of melting ice.

    Snow Cake is the sort of film you watch and allow yourself to get wrapped up in. It is an emotional journey with powerful acting and many, many effective scenes – effective because they're well shot and thought through but effective because they make you feel during the film. Really well written, really well directed and really well acted by Weaver and Rickman as the two leads – memorable film.
  • Bravo to everyone involved with this gem. Many people will compare Sigourney Weaver's performance with Dustin Hoffman's in Rainman, which is unfair, because the characters do not share the same handicap at all. I have not been around a lot of autistic individuals. In fact, the only autistic person that I ever met was my best friends niece whom I saw a lot growing up. She was probably more highly functioning than the Siguorney Weaver character, but Ms. Weaver's acting was Oscar caliber. I would be blown away if she gets an Oscar nod and although I have not yet seen the Queen, Helen Mirren probably has a lock this year, but I hope this performance is seen and remembered at awards time.

    Alan Rickman plays a tortured soul like no other actor, and gives a moving performance. Carrie Ann Moss wears no makeup and comes off ten times sexier than she does in Matrix leather, and that is sexy.

    At some point this film will be compared to "The Curious Incident of the Dog at in the night-time" which is supposed to be filmed by Steven Kloves, and should pose a great challenge to translate from book to screen. And what a wonderful book that was as well. I probably liked that book even better than this film, but I will be greatly surprised if the Kloves film captures what this film managed to do. Angela Pells has written a moving script. At times hilarious, frequently touching, and one of the best "little" films that I have ever seen. Don't miss it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    i saw the movie at the berlin film festival. lucky me, because the tix were sold within minutes. i love to see alan rickman doing his job for he's simply one of the best. my fear: a movie about an autistic woman and her relationship to a stranger might be exhausting and probably lengthy, but it's neither. first, people laughed at every single scene rickman appeared in (to many women in the theatre...) and also in scenes, that were silent and even tragic, which was annoying. but there have been funny moments! in one scene, people applauded cause rickman was so funny, when his character alex needs to enter the kitchen (and the kitchen is holy and forbidden), even drops some water - ohmygod - and starts to panic cause linda is always getting mad about blotches... hilarious! but on the other hand there is that special scene, the turning point, which makes your heart stop immediately for it's so shocking and unpredictable.

    i liked the movie; probably would have shorten it about 5-7 minutes. the camera in the first minutes is a bit annoying; potter 3 had the same problem. anyway, alan rickman was really good (even if i wished he wasn't too chary in some scenes) and sigourney weaver tried her best, but sometimes met her limits. carry ann moss' character was unfortunately meaningless, only good for alex' development (and one of the funniest scenes in the movie) - not her fault. the story is lovely narrated - audience and critics agreed on that. 8 of 10 points.
  • lesharry268613 September 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    The way sever autism challenges the way we see the world is profound. The literal mindedness, the seemingly unemotional way they deal with life, (particularly dealing with other people) cuts through all we have come to accept in our daily lives.

    These aspects of autism (and those slightly harder to deal with in everyday life)are wonderfully portrayed by Sigourney Weaver in this film.

    The dialogue is quirky, not only from Weaver, but Rickman's unique blend of sarcasm and open cynicism serves as a fascinating contrast. The way his character comes to terms with his own grief through her is life affirming.

    The performances were beautifully judged from the entire cast, with too many good performances to single out individuals.

    I am a sentimental fool (as my mother unnecessarily informed me in the car on the way home!) And although she enjoyed the film I do not believe it had quite the same effect on her as it did me. The film is not showing as widely as I would like in the UK, but I urge everyone to make a particular effort to see this, especially if like me, you have a soppy side to your personality!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Snow Cake is a Canadian film which had many more favorable reviews than negative ones. I believe there is little argument that it was Sigourney Weaver's performance that drew people to the film, resulting in all the accolades. And I would agree that the single most compelling aspect of the film is the multi-layered character that Weaver plays: 'Linda', a fully functioning adult autistic woman. Linda seemed pretty believable to me as Weaver captures both the childlike simplicity of the character as well as the torment. The screenwriter, Angela Pell, certainly knows something about autism, since she raised an autistic son.

    What's fascinating about Linda is that her emotional life is so bifurcated. On one hand, she's a simple child who is intimately connected to nature—the snow cake symbolizing the connection she feels to the earth—perhaps her greatest joy is to experience the snow melting in her mouth. But on the other hand, as an adult, she's unable to let herself be intimate with anyone who seeks to get close to her. She creates boundaries, such as not allowing anyone into her kitchen; and like all those who suffer from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, resorts to maintaining order in the environment, in order to avoid contact with those who attempt to form a relationship with her. Even when she allows someone to touch her (when, for example, she asks Alex to 'hug' her), she insists that he wrap his arms around her without using his hands. There is an additional aspect that makes Linda such a rich character: her creativity. One of the most enjoyable moments in the film is when she plays scrabble with Alex, using only made-up words.

    Vivienne, Linda's daughter, is also another fascinating character who we only meet briefly at the beginning of the film as she's soon killed in the accident. Rather than viewing Vivienne as having been "damaged" by the lack of a 'normal' mother figure, she's actually a young woman who's learned to cope in the face of a difficult upbringing. What's more, she's incorporated the positive, creative aspects of her mother's personality that makes her so endearing. Another very powerful moment in the film, is the father's eulogy of Vivienne, in which he conveys the strength of her character and the enormous sense of loss as a result of her tragic death.

    Pell is less successful with the other characters in her film. Alex is also supposed to be 'damaged goods' as we eventually learn of his back story: he killed the man responsible for the death of the son he was on his way to meet for the first time. It's obvious why Pell has the emotionally stunted Alex on his way to a first meeting and not having met the son before: by depriving Alex of meeting the son, he loses his mind and kills the victim (a drunk driver) in a fit of rage. I wanted to find out more about Alex—instead , he's pretty much depicted as a one-note character, severely depressed due to his earlier loss of control as well as guilt over the death of Vivienne.

    Alex overcomes his depression by reaching out and helping Linda. But he also moves forward through his relationship with Maggie, perhaps the least convincing character in the film. I just didn't get why Maggie would jump into bed so fast with Alex or why she's attracted to him at all. After all, it's not like she hasn't had other men in her life. What's more, she has no idea who this Alex character is. On the surface, it's obvious he's depressed. Maggie is the artificial love interest that also serves as an impetus to repair Alex's damaged soul. Indie dramas are littered with these saintly characters with their perennial 'hearts of gold'!

    Aside from the saintly Maggie and Alex, along with Linda's loving parents, most of the rest of the townspeople come off as wholly unsympathetic as they feign tolerance and sympathy for Linda but behind her back secretly have contempt for her. In one of the deleted scenes on the DVD, a woman comes up to Alex in a McDonald's and compliments Alex on the good job he's been doing with her; Alex turns around and slyly tells the woman that Linda is his wife! I'm not sure why the scene was deleted but perhaps the director sensed that it was too didactic: the 'moral' Alex must teach a lesson to one of the uncaring townspeople. The idea of a collective group of uncaring townspeople as the films' collective 'antagonist' doesn't work precisely people are much more complicated and nuanced as the film's scenarist suggests.

    This might seem odd, but the thing that bothered me most about 'Snow Cake' is the screenwriter's failure to explain the nature of the accident. Why is everything left so vague when the truck driver piles into Alex and Vivienne? Wouldn't the circumstances of the accident have been broadcast on the nightly news? By leaving the nature of the accident vague, this allows Alex to act with hostility toward the truck driver (barring him from bringing the flowers to Linda). But had Alex knew what really happened, he couldn't have used that as an excuse to be angry with the truck driver. The confrontation between the two seems forced and sets up the sentimental scene in the church where Alex 'forgives' the driver (which he has no right to do, since presumably the death of Vivienne was an accident!).

    As a psychological portrait of a fully functioning adult autistic woman and her quirky but vibrant teenage daughter, Snow Cake hits the mark. But most of the rest of the Snow Cake characters, particularly Maggie and Alex, never rise above the level of caricature. For all its well-meaning sensitivity, Snow Cake is more a fairy tale than a story that could actually happen in real life.
  • I'll be the first to admit: Picking up this movie was an act of pure spontaneity for me. I had an extra twelve dollars on hand, saw it on the shelf of the local Best Buy, and thought, "Oh, what the hell." I had been going on a recent Alan Rickman fling, so I decided to annex this unknown film to my collection. To be honest, what made me pick it up was the picture on the back cover of Alan being restrained by the police. It seemed rather intense. I bought it, took it home, and then around midnight I popped it into my laptop, expecting something pretty good. I did not expect something truly spectacular.

    Lately I've been telling people that this is my all-time favorite movie, and I haven't changed my all-time favorite movie since Silence of the Lambs came out. Let me tell you: Snow Cake deserves the number one slot. It is undoubtedly the peak performance of both Alan's and Sigourney's careers, and if they manage to pull off something even more impressive, I will hale them as the greatest actors of our generation -- though I have already bestowed this title upon Mr. Rickman. I have shown this movie to dozens of friends, and each of them said the same thing of Alan's abilities in Snow Cake; he acts as if he isn't acting at all. In every one his movies, but in this one in particular, he has this innate skill of making you believe he IS the person he plays. There is no falter in his performance, no moment when you question him. His emphasis in empathy with the audience is truly stunning. Mr. Rickman's portrayal of a flawed Alex Hughes is utterly flawless in and of itself.

    From what I have read, the most controversial aspect of Snow Cake is in Sigourney Weaver's performance. It seems to me that you either love her or you hate her. I most definitely fall into the former category; having an autistic but highly verbal brother myself, I very much appreciated the obvious research she put into her role. I have watched this movie with my mother, and every time she displayed a new compulsion or tic, we commented on how we had seen these exact same expressions from my brother. I'm very appreciative that Ms. Weaver studied her part so thoroughly, whereas some actors would have not done nearly as meticulous a job of getting into the mind of an autistic person.

    I've watched Snow Cake five times even within the past three days, and I have yet to tire of its breathtakingly moving performances, beautiful artistic cinematography, and heart-wrenching storyline. I have never been so appreciative of such little aspects of movies as I am in Snow Cake, such as tiny quirks of the eyebrow from Alan, or the subtle inability to meet other's eyes from Sigourney. There isn't a single part of this film that I would alter, and as a film fanatic, this is quite the accomplishment. Go out and find this movie: You will not be disappointed.
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