6.4/10
13,188
101 user 53 critic

Smilla's Sense of Snow (1997)

Trailer
2:29 | Trailer
A 6 y.o. Inuit boy runs off a snowy roof in Copenhagen and dies. Smilla, a half Inuit who lives in the building and knows the boy, looks into it. What makes an acrophobic boy run up on the roof? The clues take her to Greenland.

Director:

Bille August

Writers:

Peter Høeg (novel), Ann Biderman (screenplay)
1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

The film centers on a big Polish family. Jadzia is the mother and the ruler of the Pzoniak family (she has five children). Though she's happily married to Bolek, she is also having a ... See full summary »

Director: Theresa Connelly
Stars: Claire Danes, Gabriel Byrne, Lena Olin
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A bond between three people in a German concentration camp is still there many years after they were split up, all deep scars from back then. One of them invites them to a reunion, and we're out for a night none of them will ever forget.

Director: Paolo Barzman
Stars: Susan Sarandon, Christopher Plummer, Gabriel Byrne
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A British soldier falls in love with a French woman wanted by the resistance for crimes against her country.

Director: Larry Parr
Stars: Gabriel Byrne, Marianne Basler, Paul Wyett
Captives (1994)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A beautiful young dentist (Ormond) working in a tough British prison starts to become attracted to a violent inmate (Roth) after the break-up of her marriage, and embarks upon an illicit ... See full summary »

Director: Angela Pope
Stars: Julia Ormond, Tim Roth, Keith Allen
Resistance (2003)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

On 16 January 1944, a reconnaissance pilot survives a plane crash in Delahaut in the Nazi occupied Belgium. The boy Jean Benoit finds the wounded pilot and brings him to the house of Claire... See full summary »

Director: Todd Komarnicki
Stars: Bill Paxton, Julia Ormond, Philippe Volter
Quirke (2013–2014)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A chief pathologist in the Dublin city morgue investigates sudden death victims in the 1950s.

Stars: Gabriel Byrne, Nick Dunning, Brian Gleeson
In My Life (1978)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A young man finds love and settles down, but when his young wife spirals into depression they both have decisions to make.

Director: Bille August
Stars: Claus Strandberg, Kirsten Olesen, Jens Okking
Jindabyne (2006)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

After four men on a fishing trip discover a dead body in the water, they choose to delay reporting it and continue fishing.

Director: Ray Lawrence
Stars: Laura Linney, Gabriel Byrne, John Howard
Hello Again (1987)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A suburban housewife chokes to death and is brought back to life by a spell cast by her wacky sister.

Director: Frank Perry
Stars: Shelley Long, Judith Ivey, Gabriel Byrne
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Martha Horgan, a naive woman with an intellectual impairment who lives with her aunt Frances in a small town, is known for always telling the truth. She works at a dry cleaner, where her ... See full summary »

Director: Stephen Gyllenhaal
Stars: Debra Winger, Barbara Hershey, Gabriel Byrne
Nostradamus (1994)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Recounts the life and loves of the physician, astrologer, and famed prognosticator; his encounters with medieval science and the Inquisition; and his early struggles with his visions of the... See full summary »

Director: Roger Christian
Stars: Tchéky Karyo, F. Murray Abraham, Rutger Hauer
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ona Fletcher Ona Fletcher ... Inuit Hunter
Julia Ormond ... Smilla Jaspersen
Agga Olsen Agga Olsen ... Juliane Christiansen
Patrick Field Patrick Field ... Policeman
Matthew Marsh ... Detective
Gabriel Byrne ... The Mechanic
Jim Broadbent ... Dr. Lagermann
Tom Wilkinson ... Prof. Loyen
Charlotte Bradley Charlotte Bradley ... Mrs. Lagermann
Richard Harris ... Dr. Andreas Tork
Charles Lewsen Charles Lewsen ... Pastor (as Charles Lewson)
Robert Loggia ... Moritz Jaspersen
Emma Croft ... Benja
Bob Peck ... Ravn
Ann Queensberry ... Mrs. Schou
Edit

Storyline

Based on Peter Hoeg's bestseller, this film is set in snowy Copenhagen where a small boy is found dead after he fell off a roof. Smilla Jasperson, a close friend who lives in the same house begins to suspect murder because she knows that the boy was afraid of heights and would not have played on the roof. As she begins to investigate, she is pulled deeper and deeper into a conspiracy that could very well mean her death. Written by Harald Mayr <marvin@bike.augusta.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Snow covers everything...except the truth


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some violence and a sex scene | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Denmark | Germany | Sweden

Language:

English | Inuktitut

Release Date:

28 February 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Smilla's Sense of Snow See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$107,108, 2 March 1997

Gross USA:

$2,372,903

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,372,903
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Vanessa Redgrave played Guenevere opposite Richard Harris' Arthur in Camelot. See more »

Goofs

When Smilla's father shows her the X-rays of the worms in the heart, he points out what remains of the liver and lower esophagus, then says "This is the heart, what's left of it". He's actually pointing to an upside-down X-ray of the upper abdomen. The "heart" is actually bowel gas in the intestine. See more »

Quotes

Jakkelsen: Everyone thinks you're a cop. Is that what you're doing here, spying on me?
Smilla: Actually, I came for a quick fuck, but you spoiled it by talking.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bob's Burgers: Better Off Sled (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Quis est homo
(from Stabat Mater)
Written by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
performed by Kammerorchester 'Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach'
conducted by Hartmut Haenchen
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Atmospheric Thriller
18 November 2004 | by JamesHitchcockSee all my reviews

n a cold December day in Copenhagen, a young boy named Isaiah falls to his death from the roof of the block of flats where he lives. The official police view is that he slipped and fell while playing on the roof. Smilla Jaspersen, a neighbour of Isaiah and his mother, does not accept that his death was an accident. Isaiah had a fear of heights, so was unlikely to have been playing on the roof; moreover, the footprints in the snow do not support the police version. Smilla therefore decides to start her own investigation to find out what really happened.

Isaiah and his mother belonged to Denmark's Greenlandic minority, and Smilla herself grew up in Greenland, the daughter of a Danish father and Greenlandic mother. She is in her late thirties, and works as a freelance mathematician and expert on the physics of ice and snow, although she has no formal academic qualifications. She discovers, however, that Isaiah's father was an employee of a Danish mining corporation and that he died in mysterious circumstances during an expedition to Greenland organised by this corporation. She begins to suspect that Isaiah's death was also in some way linked to the company, and learns that they are organising another voyage to Gela Alta, a small island off the coast of Greenland, although she does not know what the object of this voyage is. Nevertheless, she believes that the key to the mystery lies on this remote island and joins the crew of the ship as a stewardess, just ahead of the police who resent her interference in the case and are trying to arrest her.

This was one of those films that I enjoyed more than the original novel. Peter Hoeg's book was itself in some ways reminiscent of a film. The first half, with its urban setting, its tough, gritty investigator and its suggestion of a web of corruption and wrongdoing in high places, reminded me of a Humphrey Bogart style film noir, and the second part, set on the ship as it makes its way through the Arctic ice, of one of those filmed versions of Alistair MacLean thrillers that were so popular in the sixties and seventies. I found, however, that it suffered from an over-complex plot and was too slow moving to work as a thriller. Bille August's version removes some of the complexity of the plot and moves along at a faster pace. The revelation about exactly what lies below the ice comes earlier in the film than it does in the book- possibly August realized that the book's ending, more science fiction than science fact, was one of its weak points, and wanted to get this detail out of the way to allow the closing scenes of the film to concentrate more on the battle between Smilla and the villains. The film keeps, however, the book's atmospheric sense of place- there were some wonderful shots of Copenhagen in winter and of the Arctic ice.

Julia Ormond seemed to be the cinema's Big New Thing of the mid-nineties. Her role in 'Smilla's Sense of Snow' followed starring roles in three big Hollywood films, 'Legends of the Fall', 'First Knight' and 'Sabrina'. Since then she seems to have disappeared from the radar altogether and I have often wondered what has happened to her.. Her performance in 'Smilla', however, is a good one and she makes an appealing heroine. Rather more appealing, in fact, than Hoeg's original character, who combines a strong sense of justice with a gift for rudeness and sarcasm. Of the other actors, the best was Richard Harris as the chief villain, although he was probably considerably older than the character envisaged by Hoeg.

Although it is very different in its visual style, this atmospheric thriller is perhaps the nearest that the modern cinema comes to old-fashioned film noir. Despite its weaknesses it remained watchable throughout. It confirmed my view (based on 'Pelle the Conqueror' and 'The House of the Spirits') that Bille August is a highly talented director. 7/10


35 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 101 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed