Snow Cake (2006) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • A drama focused on the friendship between a high-functioning autistic woman and a man who is traumatized after a fatal car accident.

  • Alex Hughes, an ex-convict, is on a road trip to Winnipeg to see an old friend. Along the way, he meets the annoying, but vivacious, Vivienne Freeman who manages to bum a ride with him. Just as he begins to warm to this eccentric girl, Alex's vehicle is in a serious automobile accident that kills Vivienne. After his meeting with the police, Alex decides to speak with Vivienne's mother. Upon arrival at her home, Alex discovers that the mother, Linda, is a highly functional autistic woman who convinces him to stay long to take out the garbage the day after the funeral he agrees to arrange. In those few days, Alex discovers new friends and learns more about the uniqueness of Linda even as he struggles to come to terms with his own grief.

  • It's early spring. Native Brit Alex Hughes, a general loner, is an ex-con. He has just landed at Timmins Airport in Northern Ontario - where there is still snow on the ground - from where he will drive to Winnipeg to meet with a friend. Along the way, he makes an unexpected several day stop in Wawa on the northern shore of Lake Superior out of necessity. Part of his stay in Wawa is to meet with Linda Freeman, the mother of Vivienne Freeman, an extroverted young woman he met on the road. Alex is unaware before he meets Linda that she is a functioning autistic, who has a predilection for cleanliness - most specifically in her kitchen where she allows no one and which requires someone to take out her garbage which she doesn't like to touch - and eating snow, the way it melts in her mouth what she enjoys about it. During his necessary stay in Wawa, Alex assumes some of Vivienne's responsibilities in Linda's life. He also begins a "friendship" with Linda's attractive next door neighbor, Maggie, a non-native Wawaian who Linda does not much like. Alex and Maggie's friendship doesn't sit well with Clyde, the local police officer who knows of Alex's criminal past and who has his own eye on Maggie. Alex, Linda and Maggie's encounters with each other and the primary reason for Alex's stay in the town will all have a profound effect on their lives by the time Alex takes his leave.



The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Tight-lipped Englishman Alex Hughes (Alan Rickman) arrives in Northern Ontario on his way to meet the woman with whom he had a son. He is bullied by an altogether unconventional but lovable 19 year-old hitch-hiker, Vivienne (Emily Hampshire), who needs a ride to her hometown of Wawa. When the car is hit by a truck on the outskirts of her home town, Vivienne dies instantly. Alex finds himself, for the second time in his life, grieving for someone he never knew.

    Shocked and stranded in snowbound Wawa, Alex is drawn to seek out Vivienne's mother, to talk to her in person about the fate of her daughter. He also goes armed with trinkets and children's amusements that Vivienne has picked up along the way for her mother. Alex knocks on the door and comes face to face with Linda Freeman (Sigourney Weaver).

    Linda is no ordinary Mother. Alex soon becomes aware that Linda is an adult autistic, albeit a high-functioning one. He becomes increasingly involved in Linda's life and the community to which she feels complete indifference, in large part because of her condition. Linda, in turn, becomes attached--as attached as she is emotionally capable of--to Alex and what he can do for her.

    Alex also forms a relationship with Linda's sassy independent neighbor, Maggie (Carrie-Anne Moss), and is the object of scrutiny by the ineffectual local law enforcement officer Clyde (James Allodi), who, aside from being jealous of Alex's relationship with Maggie, believes he's discovered a dark secret in Alex's past.

    When Alex finally gets back on the road, he has exorcised his inner demons, and the town he leaves behind has also been transformed. He had been tempted to stay and make more of his relationship with Maggie, but knew that it wouldn't suit either one of them. He must return to his life and holds out a faint hope that Linda and Maggie may become, if not exactly friends, then at least more accepting of each other. As the snow melts, each character's memories remain intact but are changed forever by their experiences with each other.

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