I'm excited to share this one with you all! It's one of my all time favorite films. Certainly among the best I've seen in the last 8 years....
Running Length: 103 minutes
Cast: Melissa Leo, Misty Upham, Charlie McDermott, Mark Boone Jr, Michael O’Keefe
Director: Courtney Hunt
Cinematography: Reed Morano
Winner of the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize, Frozen River is both a nerve wracking thriller and a finely drawn character study of two women locked into poverty. Ray wakes one morning just before Christmas to find that her gambling addicted husband has absconded in the night with the money she had been saving for a new, double-wide trailer. After her shift at the Yankee Dollar thrift store, Ray heads to the nearby Indian Reservation to see if he might be there. She sees his car being driven off by Lila, a ne’er do well native woman and follows. Somehow Lila manages to convince Ray to go with her across the frozen river that acts as a border between the Reservation and Canada to pick up illegal immigrants and bring them into the US. Their payment: $2400.00
With her kids forced to eat popcorn and Tang for breakfast, it is little wonder that Ray seeks Lila out to take on another smuggling mission and soon the pair are locked into an intense yet uneasy relationship. Both women are dirt poor and struggling to survive. Both are mothers although Lila’s baby has been taken from her by her mother-in-law and she is forced to hide in the shadows to watch her through a window.
But Frozen River is much more than a portrait of poverty in the US. It is also a very tense and exciting thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat as the two women’s situation spirals further and further out of control. The acting, particularly Melissa Leo as Ray, is outstanding, giving the characters a heartbreaking reality and the devastating conclusion will stay with you for days, if not weeks.