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Frozen River

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Love the Film but...

by A.P. on 12/20/2010

This is a great, must see film. This truly is the best independent film I have see in a long time. Being a filmmaker myself I appreciate all the hard work that went into making this compelling story into a film. Bravo! Unfortunately the DVD arrived scratched and the last minute of the film was unwatchable. The disc was described as new but had a 'NetFlix' label on it?

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Product Overview

Two destitute single mothers form an uneasy partnership transporting illegal immigrants across the U.S./canadian border. When circumstances spiral alarmingly out of control, they make life or death decisions base on their friendship and love for their children. Melissa leo is nominated for an oscar.


Studio Sony
SKU 210401154
UPC 043396271807
UPC 14 00043396271807
Format DVD
Release Date 2/10/2009
Rating Rating
Aspect Ratio
Anamorphic Widescreen  1.78:1
Independent Spirit (2009) Charlie McDermott, Nominee, Best Supporting Male,Chip Hourihan, Heather Rae, Nominee, Best Feature,Courtney Hunt, Nominee, Best First Screenplay,Courtney Hunt, Nominee, Best Director,Heather Rae, Nominee, Producers Award,Melissa Leo, Nominee, Best Female Lead,Misty Upham, Nominee, Best Supporting Female
Oscar (2009) Courtney Hunt, Nominee, Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen,Melissa Leo, Nominee, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Screen Actors Guild (2009) Melissa Leo, Nominee, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Sundance Film Festival (2008) Courtney Hunt, Winner, Grand Jury Prize - Dramatic
ReviewSource San Francisco Chronicle
Review "Frozen River" won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, and it's a film very much in the Sundance style. It's earnest. It's socially concerned. It's about people who are struggling. And it has a soundtrack consisting mainly of an acoustic guitar gently weeping in an echo chamber. The echoing guitar makes everything in the movie seem lonely indeed, not to mention very distant, as though everyone onscreen has been dead for 100 years...Justice should be done with regard to "Frozen River." It's an honest effort, and the performance by Melissa Leo as the downtrodden mother of two sons, living in a falling-down trailer with no insulation, is emotionally committed...But if we're going to be honest, we need to look inside and ask ourselves: Do we really want to see a listless movie about a woman whose dream is to move into a double-wide trailer?...The title comes from the fact that, in order to elude the police, smugglers drive across a frozen river, which at any minute could crack and then wouldn't that be awful? Again, that's a detail that seemingly could have made the smuggling scenes more exciting or at least more interesting, but "Frozen River" eschews drama as much as the characters avoid state troopers. It's as if someone thought that any hint of life would render the movie insincere...This final point leads us to what is ultimately wrong with "Frozen River" and about other movies in its style. Under the guise of sincerity, it's fundamentally insincere, and while posing as gritty, it's in fact sentimental. It presents a world in which the working poor are noble and boring, the Indians angry but virtuous, and life has no humor or energy to it at all. The distance of the guitar is the distance of a filmmaker looking warmly at specimens under glass, with lots of genuine sympathy but little genuine understanding of their lives.
Reviewer Mick LaSalle
ReviewRating 6
ReviewSource Chicago Sun-Times
Review Sometimes two performances come along that are so perfectly matched that no overt signals are needed to show how the characters feel about each other. That's what happens between Melissa Leo and Misty Upham in "Frozen River," playing two mothers who live without male support in shabby house trailers on the U.S.-Quebec border: Mohawk territory...Leo is Ray Eddy, whose husband left his car at a Mohawk bingo parlor and disappeared, perhaps on the bus to Atlantic City. He is a gambling addict and has taken all the money that they were saving to buy a better trailer. Ray scrapes by on a half-time job at the Yankee One Dollar store, and until pay day, her kids, who are 15 and 5 years old, are dining on popcorn and Tang...Upham is Lila Littlejohn, a Mohawk who works at the bingo hall and lives alone; her mother-in-law has "stolen" her 1-year-old. The two women meet after Lila finds the keys in Ray's husband's abandoned car and drives it away, and Ray follows her home: "That's my car." Lila says she knows a smuggler who will give her $2,000 for it, no questions asked. She knows a lot more than that, which is how Ray finds them both in the business of smuggling aliens across the border into the United States. This involves the two women making hazardous car trips across the ice of a frozen river, dealing with unsavory types on both sides, and carrying Chinese and Pakistanis in the trunk...In detail after detail, "Frozen River" is the story of two lives in economic emergency, and two women who are brave and resourceful and ready to do what's necessary. It doesn't play sides. It isn't about illegal aliens or smuggling. It's about replacing popcorn and Tang with a meal at the Chopper, and some nice TV dinners. That it climaxes on Christmas Eve doesn't even seem contrived, just sad.
Reviewer Roger Ebert
ReviewRating 10
DVD, Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 1.85:1, Dolby Digital (5.1), French, Subtitled
Product Attributes
Video Format DVD
Claudia Puig, USA Today ...both absorbing and bleak, Frozen River is anchored by powerful performances, believable scenarios and excellent writing.
David Ansen, Newsweek Gripping! Opens up a world we rarely see on film. A superb performance by Melissa Leo.
Don R. Lewis, Film Threat ...incredibly compelling and intense and I can't think of another film that's this small and powerful.
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times ...let its bracing drama and the intensity of its acting restore your spirits as well as your faith in American independent film.
Richard Schickel, Time Miracles do happen. Frozen River is one of them. Melissa Leo's performance is screen acting of the highest order.

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Love the Film but... by A.P. on Dec 20, 2010