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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'!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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
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!
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.
*** This review may contain 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.... :)
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