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Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)

6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 11,392 users   Metascore: 44/100
Reviews: 191 user | 97 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

A Japanese-American fisherman may have killed his neighbor Carl at sea. In the 1950's, race figures in the trial. So does reporter Ishmael.

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(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)

Snow Falling on Cedars (1999) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Hatsue Miyamoto
...
Anne Suzuki ...
...
...
Nels Gudmundsson (as Max Von Sydow)
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Alvin Hooks
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Judge Fielding
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Sheriff Art Moran
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Susan Marie Heine
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Carl Heine Jr.
...
Etta Heine
...
Carl Heine Sr. (as Daniel Von Bargen)
...
Hisao Imada
...
Fujiko Imada
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Storyline

Carl, a fisherman in the waters off Washington state, has been found dead, drowned in his own nets, but with a serious head wound. Was he murdered? Post-war anti-Japanese sentiments are still running high, and a murder suspect is found in the local Japanese-American community in the form of Kabuo, another fisherman, who had a grudge against Carl's family. Ishmael, the small town's newspaperman, may have the information that would acquit Kabuo, but can he ever put his jilted love for Hatsue (Kazuo's wife) aside? Written by Martin Lewison <mlewison@utk.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

First loves last. Forever. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, sensuality and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

7 January 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Snow Falling on Cedars  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$36,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£30,243 (UK) (12 May 2000)

Gross:

£30,243 (UK) (12 May 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ishmael never once pronounces the love-of-his-life's name correctly. He always calls her "Hat-sue" not by her real Japanese name "Ha-Tsu-E". See more »

Goofs

One scene shows a Coast Guard Petty Officer wearing a peacoat. His peacoat has his insignia of rank (red chevrons and white eagle) on the outside of the left sleeve. The US Navy and presumably the Coast Guard did not adopt the policy of wearing the insignia on the sleeve of the peacoat until the mid 1960s. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Sheriff Art Moran: So did any more of you guys see Carl out of ship channel bank last night?
Ishmael Chambers: What do you want to know for?
Sheriff Art Moran: Only to see if somebody talked to him.
Ishmael Chambers: Just went sour on me when the fog rolled. I got the hell out of there.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Spotlight on Location: Snow Falling on Cedars (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Laudate Dominum
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (as W. A. Mozart)
Performed by Aled Jones and the BBC Welch Chorus
Courtesy of BBC Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Magnificent - the best of the year.
27 January 2000 | by (Vero Beach, FL) – See all my reviews

This film stands apart from the standard, sometimes clever, seldom memorable work that passes too often for Oscar fare nowadays. It is a film about life and death, love and betrayal, passion and pain, forgiveness and redemption. It is about the power of emotion to influence perception and memory. It is about justice and truth.

But that is not why you should see it; You should see it for the story. For this film is so finely crafted, and the story unfolds so naturally, that it is easy to appreciate for the simple compelling drama of the narrative. You care about the characters, you care about how the trial turns out, and you ache to know the truth.

The plot centers around a murder trial of a Japanese man charged in the death of a local fisherman, and on a white reporter covering the trial. It turns out the reporter had once been in love with a Japanese woman, now the accused man's wife. This romance was shattered as World War II broke out, and the young woman and her family were rounded up with other Japanese Americans, and interred in camps.

The story that unfolds is part "Casablanca", part "Amistad", part "To Kill a Mockingbird", yet wholly original and true to itself. It is at once a tender love story, a lesson in history, a murder mystery, and more.

The story of each of the main characters is told through flashbacks that reveal how each of them has suffered because of the war and how each has to overcome this suffering. Many of the most compelling images of the film occur in these flashbacks. Like real lasting memories, they are moments of deep emotional significance, and include many images which you will carry in your own mind long after you have left the theater.

If you look for them you may also find some symbolic or allegorical images in the film (the boat's mast resembles a cross; the fish could also be seen as a Christian symbol of sacrifice), but these elements are not heavy handed or forced, they occur naturally as important elements of the story which is set in a small fishing village on the Northwestern coast of the US in the years surrounding World War II.

While I have seen many reviewers comment on how beautifully filmed and well acted this film is, I have seen a few who have somehow failed to appreciate the significance of the story. My only caution on this account is, take care that you are not so blinded by beauty, that you fail to notice love.

In short, I found this to be a brilliant, deep, uplifting engrossing, and highly satisfying film experience.


39 of 50 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
I LOVE this movie, but... queen_supreme-1
too many flashbacks spookvile0803
hatsue never love ismael? antiquegirl12
Hatsu Jen175
love this movie natz62
End of Movie spikedmort
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