Snow Cake
Directed by: Directed by Marc Evans
At one point in Snow Cake, morose Alex (Alan Rickman) and high-functioning autistic Linda (Sigourney Weaver) engage in a game of Linda's creation—"comic book word" Scrabble. Players can create any word, as long as they provide an example of their word's comic-book-related use. It's whimsical without being annoying. Snow Cake, filmed in Canada, is an engaging character study, and its best scenes feature quiet interactions—the Scrabble game and the odd little exchanges between Alex and Linda; the muffins and comfortable conversation that Alex and lover Maggie (Carrie-Anne Moss) share after sex. It's too bad that all these moments take place within a contrived dramatic framework. Snow Cake's opening shows a Winnipeg-bound Alex picking up a chatty hitchhiker. His car is broadsided by a transport truck; the hitchhiker is killed and guilty Alex heads to Wawa, Ontario, to apologize to Linda—the hitchhiker's mother. It turns out this isn't the first crash that has affected Alex; helping Linda helps Alex work through his own (dramatically similar!) pain. Luckily, the movie's good enough to transcend these attempts at resonance. The characters are intriguing and the performances are great; it's just too bad we don't get to watch them in a less heavy-handed context.
Lindsay McCarney

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