Snow Angels (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Gordon Green|
|Produced by||Daniel Lindau
|Screenplay by||David Gordon Green|
|Based on||Snow Angels
by Stewart O'Nan
|Music by||Jeff McIlwain
|Distributed by||Warner Independent Pictures|
Snow Angels is a 2007 drama film starring Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale. It was directed by David Gordon Green, who also wrote the screenplay adapted from Stewart O'Nan's 1994 novel of the same title. The film premiered in the dramatic competition at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. It is a character driven film centered on several characters dealing with loss of innocence in a small town. Snow Angels was released on 7 March 2008.
On a cold afternoon, with snow on the ground, a high school band is practicing for the last football game, when they hear gunshots. The film abruptly flashes back to a few weeks before, to a Chinese restaurant where a high school boy named Arthur (Michael Angarano) buses tables, and his ex-babysitter, Annie (Kate Beckinsale), and her best friend, Barb (Amy Sedaris), are waitresses. Arthur, who's a bit of a misfit, has a troubled home life caused by his constantly clashing parents, both of whom often forget about him. Annie's life isn't faring much better: she's now a single mother with an ill mother, separated from her husband, Glenn (Sam Rockwell), who's on the wagon and becoming a born-again Christian in order to prove that he is responsible enough to spend time with their young daughter, Tara. Depressed and lonely, Annie is having an affair with Barb's husband, Nate (Nicky Katt), which eventually serves to only make her unhappier, as she feels great guilt over betraying her best friend. Desperate to prove himself and still harboring feelings for his estranged wife (whom he suspects is seeing someone), Glenn gets a new job and spends as much time as possible with Tara. Meanwhile, Arthur finds himself growing close to Lila (Olivia Thirlby), a new student at the high school who has a knack for photography. The film focuses heavily on how people's lives can cross in a small town, especially when Tara wanders out of the house and goes missing while Annie, having just lost her best friend over the affair, is sleeping. The whole town spends hours desperately searching for Tara, before Arthur finds her body while smoking pot with his friend. To Annie's horror, Tara fell into the lake while playing and drowned when the water froze over. This turn of events leads to Glenn having a complete breakdown, which results in his murder of Annie and subsequent suicide.
- Kate Beckinsale as Annie Marchand
- Sam Rockwell as Glenn Marchand
- Michael Angarano as Arthur Parkinson
- Deborah Allen as May Van Dorn
- Jeanetta Arnette as Louise Parkinson
- Griffin Dunne as Don Parkinson
- Olivia Thirlby a Lila Raybern
- Connor Paolo as Warren Hardesky
- Nicky Katt as Nate Petite
- Amy Sedaris as Barb Petite
- Gracie Hudson as Tara Marchand
- Peter Blais as Mr. Eisenstat
- Brian Downey as Frank Marchand
- Tom Noonan as Mr. Chervenick
- Pascal MacLellan as himself
The film received generally positive reviews from critics. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports a 68% approval rating with an average rating of 6.8/10 based on 110 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "With fine acting and considerable emotional depth, Snow Angels aptly captures the highs, and especially the lows of human relationships." Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 67 out of 100, based on 28 reviews.
Steven Rea of the Philadelphia Inquirer called the film "a compelling, and grim, portrait of small-town lives gone wrong", "disturbingly good", while also writing, "the film's characters get inside your skin, your soul. It's enough to make you want to cry." Richard Corliss of Time wrote, "The film's success is due in large part to actors who are both faithful to all the social minutiae and seductive enough to keep you watching." He also praised director David Gordon Green for his gift, "to show how people learn codes of affection and aggression from watching movies, but when they try to pull them off in crucial situations they come out awkward, embarrassed and futile."
The film appeared on some critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2008. Marc Mohan of The Oregonian named it the 4th best film of 2008, and Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune named it the 8th best film of 2008.
Among the critics who gave the film a negative review was Kyle Smith of the New York Post, who gave the film 2.5 out of 4 stars, calling the film, "funny, beautifully written, nicely observed, sweetly familiar. For the first half", and felt, "the film's change of key in the second half feels like a betrayal."
Box Office Performance
- "Snow Angels". Moviefone. 2008-03-07. Retrieved 2008-03-07.
- "Snow Angels". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 20, 2009.
- "Snow Angels (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved March 17, 2008.
- "Life worsening in a disturbingly good film". Philly. Retrieved April 22, 2011.
- Richard Corliss (March 7, 2008). "Snow Angels and Married Life: Wedded Blisters". Time. Retrieved April 22, 2011.
- "Metacritic: 2008 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Archived from the original on February 12, 2010. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
- Kyle Smith (March 7, 2008). "Sadly, 'Angels' Falls in 2nd Half". New York Post. Retrieved April 22, 2011.
- "Snow Angels (2008) - Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
- "Critically aclaimed [sic] Snow Angels on DVD (Sept 16)". DVDTOWN.com. Retrieved 2008-08-25.