Thursday, May 26, 2011

Movie Review : Frozen River

Movie Review : Frozen River
Director : Courtney Hunt
Genre : Drama
Released : October 2008
Starring : Melissa Leo, Misty Upham, Charlie McDermott
My Rating : 7 out of 10

I have a bias towards movies that have a strong focus on story and people. The CGI, special effects are nice, but they are definitely not sufficient, and not even necessary for me to like a movie. "Frozen River" is such a low budget movie, with a simple touching story of struggles of day to day existence of 2 single mothers.

The main character is Ray (Melissa Leo). As the movie opens, we learn that her husband has run away from her, taking her savings to blow on gambling. She was saving this money to move into a brand-new double wide trailor. Yes, that's the dream house, and now even that modest dream is unattainable. Living in a small village near a Mohwak reservation in upstate New York and working part-time in a store to take care of 2 sons makes even basic needs seem like luxary.

But she is a fighter. When another single mother Lila (a Mohwak who doesn't really like white people all that much) offers her to join her to smuggle people from across Canadian border, Ray grudgingly takes up the offer. Lila needs Ray to drive the car, as cops are less likely to stop a white female driver. It's Christmas time, which means Ray needs the money to buy presents for her kids as well. It also means, she has to drive the car across the frozen river, a risky endeavor. It's only a matter of time before Ray gets in trouble.

Director/writer Courtney Hunt Makes us root for Ray. She is helped tremendously by an exceptionally strong performance by Melissa Leo (winner of 2011 Oscar). The story revolves around her, and it's her portrayal that makes the movie so believable. Director Courtney Hunt keeps things real, and doesn't make it too dramatic. Yes, life is hard for Ray, but there are some positives as well - her elder son is well-intentioned responsible teenager who wants to help his mother.

It's not a perfect movie. But very worth the time. Definitely recommended. It's rated R, but apart from some strong language, I didn't find anything objectionable in it for kids. Younger kids will get bored, but older kids who like to read, may actually like the movie.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog! Well written movie reviews. Looking forward to read more.


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