I didn’t want to see Snow Angels at first. I was outside the first screening when a busload of people decided to walk out. “Terrible, Depressing” they said. But then in the days that followed I ran into a lot of people on the shuttles and at the theaters that were raving about the flick. But I still refused to believe it was good. I mean, how could a busload of people walk out and it be a great movie? Than one of my Sundance friends expressed the same opinion. And so far I’ve pretty much agreed with her on every movie thus far. But the only screening of Snow Angles that remained was during Grace is Gone, which is probably the biggest hyped film at the fest at this point in. So I had to see that instead.
I got up early, ran to the Library to get in through the wait list. Got my ticket, went inside and sat down. The theater wasn’t full. Sure, it was an early morning screening but this was Grace is Gone. So I had a conversation with the moviegoer next to me about how I expected this to be a full show because of all the hype. He agreed. And than the theater manager got up and introduced the director… David Gordon Green. And that’s when it hit me, Green didn’t direct Grace is Gone. And like fate I became imprisoned in a screening of Snow Angles. A movie I had no interest in seeing. A movie which had walk-outs and very mixed reviews. A movie which I loved.
Snow Angels is about a married couple who have split. Sam Rockwell plays a born again father who is not over the break-up. Kate Beckinale (who has left the vampires and sci-fi behind her) plays the mother who is having an affair with one of her co-worker’s husband. She works at an all american chinese restaurant where she works with a nerdy kid she use to babysit named Arthur. And one of the most interesting things about the film is its mostly seen from the eye of Arthur, who is more of a side character in the grand scheme of things.
I now understand why the people walked out of the screening half-way through. I now can understand why some people may not enjoy this film. This movie may not go in the directions that you hope or wish it would. It’s realistic, depressing, but incredible. But David Gordon Green does not make simple films.
Some people who may not like where it goes might be appeased by knowing that the movie was adapted from a book. I hate to pull this card, because I’m not a follower of this theory but they needed to remotely follow the same story – and this is the story. (side note: Roger Ebert once said that a movie doesn’t have to be faithful to the book it’s adapted from because they aren’t married. I tend to agree, but not in this case).
Sam Rockwell gives the best performance of his career. Amy Sedaris tries her hand at a serious drama, and isn’t half bad (who would have thought?). And Kate Beckinsale is better than she’s ever been before.
Coming from a nonreligious liberal background, I have to compliment Green on his portrayal of a sympathetic born again evangelical christian with problems. In the day and age when movies like Jesus Camp and Saved, it’s nice to see a film with a more impartial viewpoint (even though his character takes a a twist late into the film). And the movie asks the question: When you put all your hope in god and he fails you, then what?
Snow Angles is a moving drama about relationships, separations, and forgiveness.
/Film Rating: 8 out of 10
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Thirlby, Amy Sedaris
Directed by: David Gordon Green