7.2/10
23,652
103 user 157 critic

Frozen River (2008)

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A mom looks for another source of income, when her husband leaves with the money meant for the new mobile home. A nearby Indian territory stretches across the border to Canada with a drivable frozen river between. Smugling?

Director:

Courtney Hunt

Writer:

Courtney Hunt
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 32 wins & 37 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Melissa Leo ... Ray Eddy
Misty Upham ... Lila Littlewolf
Charlie McDermott ... T.J.
Michael O'Keefe ... Trooper Finnerty
Mark Boone Junior ... Jacques Bruno
James Reilly ... Ricky
Jay Klaitz ... Guy Versailles
John Canoe John Canoe ... Bernie Littlewolf
Dylan Carusona ... Jimmy
Michael Skye Michael Skye ... Billy Three Rivers (as Michael Sky)
Gargi Shinde ... Pakistani Mother
Rajesh Bose ... Pakistani Father
Azin Jahanbakhsh Azin Jahanbakhsh ... Pakistani Dealer
Jack Phillips Jack Phillips ... Pakistani Baby
James Phillips James Phillips ... Pakistani Baby
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Storyline

Takes place in the days before Christmas near a little-known border crossing on the Mohawk reservation between New York State and Quebec. Here, the lure of fast money from smuggling presents a daily challenge to single moms who would otherwise be earning minimum wage. Two women - one white, one Mohawk, both single mothers faced with desperate circumstances - are drawn into the world of border smuggling across the frozen water of the St. Lawrence River. Ray and Lila - and a New York State Trooper as opponent in an evolving cat-and-mouse game. Written by anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Desperation knows no borders.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Chinese | Urdu | Mohawk

Release Date:

5 September 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Río helado See more »

Filming Locations:

New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$70,234, 3 August 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,508,841, 15 March 2009

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,028,957, 31 December 2008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ray Eddy's name is spoken once. See more »

Goofs

When the state trooper checks out at Yankee Dollar, Ray tells him the total is $3.76. Over his shoulder, a sign on the wall that says that all items are $1.00. At the time, the sales tax in St. Lawrence County, which includes Massena, was 7%, so the total should've been $3.21. See more »

Quotes

Voicemail server bot: To change your personal greeting, press 1.
[Roy presses 1]
Voicemail server bot: To record greeting, press 3.
[Roy presses 3]
Ray Eddy: Hi, it's me. Leave a message and
[in a happy tone]
Ray Eddy: I'll call you back.
[Voicemail greeting recording]
Ray Eddy: Hi, it's me. Leave a message and I'll call you back.
Voicemail server bot: To change your personal greeting, press 1.
[...]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Fantastic Film - and a rare glimpse into the reality of life in Indian Country
31 July 2008 | by bgills-1See all my reviews

I caught a viewing of this tonight at the fantastic Traverse City Film Festival. The film was really fantastic. It is an indie flick very reminiscent of David Gordon Green's work (George Washington, All the Real Girls, etc) in pacing, cinematography, and the depth of character the director is able to elicit with profound minimalism. The plot centers around a Mohawk coyote who smuggles illegals across the St. Lawrence in the winter by driving back and forth between the Canadian and US segments of the Mohawk Reservation. The Mohawk are one of the few tribes that issue their own passports and directly challenge federal authority to regulate their border. Because the reservation covers areas in both nations there isn't much either side can do. For the Mohawk, sovereignty has real meaning, and they protect it fiercely.

The main character (aside from the Mohawk woman) is a white woman living in the area who's husband is a degenerate gambler and has taken off with the money she had saved to get them a new modular home. We never meet him, but nevertheless are given a good portrait of his and the family's struggles with his addiction. She needs $4k fast, stumbles into this smuggling business quite unexpectedly and decides its her only hope to avoid homelessness for herself and two kids. It's suspenseful, introspective, and the acting is top notch by everyone. I also loved how it provided a glimpse into one part of Indian Country few people even know exists, and treats the Indians as people rather than victims or otherwise attempts to cajole the audience into feeling something for them. They are just people. Just like us.

Highly recommended.


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