Monday, March 9, 2009

Frozen River (2008) R - 3½ Stars

While I liked the movie, I was expecting a little more from it. I thought for sure someone was going to die in the frozen river and I guess I was a little let down when they didn't. Obviously not the point of the movie, just my expectations a few times in the movie. The acting was great especially from the new up and coming stars.

Ray Eddy (Melissa Leo) has just found out she is now a single woman. Her husband left and never returned with their life savings that was to be used for their new dream double wide trailer they've been waiting for. Now just days before Christmas, she's desperate to find some reasoning behind her husbands disappearance so she can explain to her two young sons. Ray traces the steps of the places her husband frequented until finally she finds his car in the parking lot of the local bingo hall. But he is no where to be found and instead, a Mohawk Indian girl Lila Littlewolf (Misty Upham), gets into the car and drives it away. In anger, Ray chases the car to the young woman's home where she confronts her as Lila offers to buy the car. She had people willing to pay a lot of money to use it for smuggle people from the Canadian border.

Ray thinks of all the Tang and popcorn dinners she has fed to her sons and decides Lila may have something to offer. With no other option present, she agrees to help Lila traffic illegal aliens into the U.S. The plan is fool proof, as Lila shows her the St. Lawrence River is frozen solid at this time of year, and you can save time be driving right across, rather than to attract more attention by going around.

Lila also is a economically challenged woman. She has a one year old son that has been taken away from her. The tribal elders disagree with any involvement in the wrong doing at the border and have banned auto dealers in town from selling Lila a car, to keep her clean. Both in desperate situations off they go in Ray's nonchalant Dodge Spirit heading towards the frozen icy pathway. Though there are some complications, eventually they agree to pull off a few more runs so both their troubles will be over. But when their forced to deal with a different trafficker, things go terribly wrong and Ray must choose who pays the price.

Awards include:
2008 - Frozen River - Independent Spirit Awards - Best Actress
2008 - Frozen River - American Film Institute - Best Picture
2008 - Frozen River - National Board of Review - Best Independent Film
2008 - Frozen River - Women Film Critics Circle - Best Movie By a Woman

Sony Pictures Classics
Director: Courtney Hunt
Writer: Courtney Hunt
Producers: Chip Hourihan, Heather Rae
I viewed 2/09

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