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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Frozen River

"He's got no reason to stop us, unless you give him one, so keep your mouth shut."
This movie has been in and out of my Netflix queue ever since Melissa Leo was nominated for an Oscar for lead actress. I took it out of my queue because I wasn't really sure I'd like it and didn't want to waste valuable real estate in my queue for other things I've been dying to see. But after I ran into a former coworker and the woman behind at the screening for American Violet earlier this week, they convinced me to give it a try.
I must say this up front: it kind of drags. The performances are good, subtle. It actually kinda reminded me of how The Wrestler was shot--cold, damp and bare in some unknown small town. Frozen, which takes place on the border crossing on the Mohawk reservation between New York State and Quebec, follows a mother struggling to give her two kids a better life and simply get by with a minimum wage part-time job and husband with a gambling problem. She runs into a woman who smuggles immigrants across the U.S. border and sees smuggling as a way for her to put some food on the table for her and kids. She said she'd only do it a short time in order to buy that double-wide trailer she'd been eyeing, but she inevitably gets caught up with collecting the money and ends up in trouble.
I wasn't really blown away by the movie. Like I said, I thought the performances were good, but I just thought it could have done more. The movie touched on the issue of race and the consequences white people suffer as opposed to that of minorities. A turning point in the movie is when she realizes firsthand the plights of the people she's smuggling and how they are seen as beneath her in the eyes of justice and decides to commit an act of selflessness for a new friend to have a better life. You felt the sadness she felt when everything she tried to get was always just out of her reach, but I still wasn't moved by the movie. I thought it was just a snapshot of a story, not a fully developed one.

My rating: B+


Unknown said...

Hi Candice, nice to see you saw this film also. I really enjoyed the movie and was moved by the performances.

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