The lives of two lovelorn spouses from separate marriages, a registered sex offender, and a disgraced ex-police officer intersect as they struggle to resist their vulnerabilities and temptations in suburban Connecticut.
With a job traveling around the country firing people, Ryan Bingham enjoys his life living out of a suitcase, but finds that lifestyle threatened by the presence of a new hire and a potential love interest.
A man coping with the institutionalization of his wife because of Alzheimer's disease faces an epiphany when she transfers her affections to another man, Aubrey, a wheelchair-bound mute who also is a patient at the nursing home.
On a cold afternoon, with snow on the ground, the high school band is practicing for the last football game. They hear shots. Flashback a few weeks before. Arthur is a high school student, bussing at a restaurant. Annie and Barb are waitresses there - Annie was Arthur's babysitter when he was little. She's now separated from her husband Glenn, who's on the wagon, starting a new job, praying to Jesus, and trying to prove he has his balance back so he can see more of their small daughter, Tara. Annie's seeing someone else, Arthur's parents have just separated, and Arthur is attracted to Lila, a new student at the high school. It's a small town, people's lives cross. Written by
David Gordon Green, who would end up directing the film, first worked on the script for another director. After 3 years, this other director moved on to other projects and Green was approached by the producers to make the film. See more »
In the scene where Arthur takes a swig from a bottle of beer hidden on the floor, he raises it with the label facing him. In the next cut scene, as he lowers the bottle, the label can be clearly seen facing the camera. See more »
She used to babysit me when i was younger, for years. She used to let me stay up til past midnight. I had a crush on her. I used to drop my toys on the floor. She'd have to bend down, pick them up, I could see right down her shirt. She stayed over once, my parents went out of town. And I saw her naked. I took my moms little make up mirror, tilted it under the bathroom door, watched her shower. She was beautiful.
See more »
Baby, I'm a Want You
Written by David Gates
Published by Sony/ATV Tunes L.L.C. (ASCAP)
Performed by Bread
Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group
By Arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing See more »
In the hands of a less capable director, this devastating tale of loneliness, murder, adultery and budding teenage love could have easily turned into a melodramatic soap opera filled with completely unlikeable characters. However David Gordon Green once again expresses his genius by displaying human characters with real emotions. The film begins and ends with a montage of standard everyday activity in your standard American town, showing that these people aren't in extraordinary circumstances or any different from you or I. They are human, and they are very flawed.
Another genius decision by Green is who he decided to put in the middle of the film. In a story filled with such tragedy, it is surprisingly centered around Arthur (Michael Angarano), a young band member, and his budding romance with quirky new girl Lila (Olivia Thirlby). Their adorable friendship-turned-relationship is so sweet and pleasant that when they are on screen alone you completely forget about the chaos that is surrounding this town. At the beginning of the film we hear two gunshots as the band is preparing their big number for the football game at the end of the week. So from the start we know that this story is destined to end in tragedy. But in these moments with just Arthur and Lila being awkward and cute with one another, expressing their mutual attraction or making love for the first time, Green makes us believe that everything is right in this small town; if only for a moment.
Possibly the biggest story of the film is the destructive relationship of Arthur's co-worker (and former babysitter), Annie (Kate Beckinsale) and her unstable ex-husband Glenn (Sam Rockwell). Annie goes through the entire film taking one hit after another. She has so much on her plate, between raising a child alone, taking care of her mother and her affair with Nate (Nicky Katt) who is coincidentally her best friend's (Amy Sedaris) husband. Slowly everything in her world unravels until a point where she is nothing but an empty vessel of what may have been a happy woman at some point in her life, back when Glenn used to make her life. Glenn himself is an absolute wreck in every aspect of his life. On the surface he appears to be a despicable, hypocritical character who preaches about how Christianity saves him but then falls right back into drinking and neglecting his daughter. However in the writing and in Rockwell's flawless performance he becomes one of the most sympathetic characters I've seen in many years. It's a film filled with real people who keep falling into horrific circumstances.
At the center of the entire film is Green's sensational writing and directing. But his brilliant work would be nothing without the astounding performances from the entire cast. Sam Rockwell is an actor who I admire passionately, but he still managed to surprise me with his portrayal of Glenn. Rarely have I had such an emotional connection with a character to the point where I cry when he does and when he does something that I know is wrong, my stomach clenches in fear of what the consequences will be. His performance is a tour de force and one of the best I've seen this decade. Kate Beckinsale is also surprisingly fantastic. The role is very unflattering and at first glance her angelic beauty seems to be miscast, but she proves that external beauty can be nothing but a cover for someone who is slowly breaking to pieces inside. She is absolutely devastating, and explosive, throughout the film. However the most surprising of the cast is the young Michael Angarano who nails the role of Arthur with a reserved, internal anguish that is barely let out on the surface but is always clearly dwelling underneath. It's a trait that I could relate so well with and I was amazed at how well he captured this performance. Olivia Thirlby, one of my favorite young actresses, is also phenomenal as the unique, adorable young photographer who gets Angarano to fall for her; it's easy to see why.
As almost everyone says, Snow Angels is an incredibly difficult film to watch, but one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had. Everyone who contributes in the film is at the very top of their game and it combines for something unlike anything I've ever seen. Green is clearly one of the most passionate directors working today; he refuses to add a flare or flashy style to his films but in doing so makes his intimate relationship with his characters instantly recognizable. He is a man who cares so deeply about the people he is putting on the screen that he refuses to let anyone label them or imply anything about them. This film is many things; a tragedy, a tale of young love, a display of flawed human beings falling apart in a small town. Ultimately though, to me, it's a story of loneliness. Green shows early on that no matter what you have in your life, everyone is instinctively lonely. By the end he proves that without love or friendship, life can fall apart to results that you would never dream possible.
51 of 73 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?