Snow Cake (15)

Film

Comedy drama

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Time Out says

Posted: Tue Sep 5 2006

The debate about actors playing disabled characters is well rehearsed. On the one hand, it offers these lives dramatic representation; on the other, it’s prone to a certain self-conscious display from performers. This chamber drama set in remote snowy Canada won’t change any of that, but accept it for what it is and you’ll find a decent, respectable piece of work. Sigourney Weaver works very hard to portray Linda, a high-functioning autistic woman who has found some measure of security in an obsessively neat lifestyle – until her routine is challenged by the arrival of Alex (Alan Rickman), a cross-country driver with his own curdled past. Forced by tragic circumstances to announce the death of her teenage daughter, he then stays on to help her adjust in the run-up to the funeral.

Screenwriter Angela Pell clearly has something to say about the way autism brings clear-sighted lack of prejudice and a childlike innocence, albeit often masked by seemingly irrational needs and drives. Such thematic integrity might lend the film genuine substance were it not dramatised through a panoply of unlikely circumstances, convenient contrivances and Linda’s seemingly uncanny ability to supply wise insights at exactly the right moment. That said, it’s hard not to respond to the central duo’s touchingly awkward to-and-fro, even if Rickman’s typically overdetermined sardonic spikiness is in marked contrast to the unforced naturalness of Carrie-Anne Moss, in a thin-ish subordinate part as the love interest next door. There’s no little sensitivity here, darts of wry humour too, and it’s cumulatively absorbing to be sure, but if the whole actorly bit tends to put your back up, best approach with caution.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Sep 8, 2006

Duration:

112 mins

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