Frozen RiverDirector: Courtney Hunt
A desperate single mother living in upstate New York resorts to smuggling illegal immigrants into the United States as a means of making ends meet in first-time feature director/screenwriter Courtney Hunt's emotionally wrenching drama, winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Dramatic Feature at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Ray Eddy is in an impossible position; it's two days before Christmas and her husband has suddenly disappeared with all of the family savings. Now, as the newly single mother of two realizes the futility of attempting to cover the house payments on her meager Yankee One Dollar Store wages, her children are forced to exist on a nutritionally devoid diet of popcorn and Tang. Deciding that her only hope for survival is to find a man who will support her and her children, Ray sets out to find a husband but instead makes the acquaintance of street-smart Mohawk Lila Littlewolf. Lila, too, has been struggling to keep her head above water amidst economic despair, and has recently stumbled across a rather unconventional solution to her dire financial situation. Lately, Lila has been earning a living by smuggling illegal immigrants into the U.S., but her tribal elders vehemently disapprove of the scheme and have recently attempted to stop it by forbidding the local auto dealers from selling her a car. As fate would have it, Ray's Dodge Spirit may just be the only thing the destitute mother can count on anymore, and as this unlikely pair gas up the tank for a daring dash across the iced-over St. Lawrence River, their fates become forever intertwined in ways that neither could have ever anticipated.
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- Sony Pictures
- Region Code:
- [Wide Screen]
- [Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
- Sales rank:
Cast & Crew
|Misty Upham||Lila Littlewolf|
|Michael O'Keefe||Trooper Finnerty|
|Mark Boone||Jacques Bruno|
|Jay Klaitz||Guy Versailles|
|John Canoe||Bernie Littlewolf|
|Michael Sky||Billy Three Rivers|
|Micah Bloomberg||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Charles S. Cohen||Executive Producer|
|Peter Golub||Score Composer|
|Donald A. Harwood||Executive Producer|
|Shahzad Ali Ismaily||Score Composer|
|Reed Dawson Morano||Cinematographer|
|Abby O'Sullivan||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Kevin Pazmino||Asst. Director|
|Brian Rzepka||Art Director|
|Alfonso Trinidad||Associate Producer|
|Inbal Weinberg||Production Designer|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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FROZEN RIVER marks an impressive debut for writer/director Courtney Hunt: here is a filmmaker that not only knows how to weave a powerful story with pacing that rarely takes a break for breathing, but one who also knows how to pull intensely dramatic performances from actors in that rarest arena of ensemble acting. Though many viewers may avoid this film because of its suggestion of uncompromising sadness and depression in a time when 'escape movies' seem to draw the larger audiences, simply giving into this story will offer insights into human behavior - from adults and children, from minority groups, and from the disenfranchised - that allow the ending of the story to resonate subtly and memorably.
Ray Eddy (Melissa Leo) lives with her two sons, teenager T.J. (the gifted young Charlie McDermott) and 5-year-old Ricky (James Reilly), in a shabby trailer house in the icy tundra where New York state meets Canada adjacent to a Mohawk Indian reservation. Ray's gambling addicted husband has deserted his family with the money being saved for a better, larger trailer house, and Ray is left to forge for her boys at her menial job, living paycheck to paycheck and forced to feed her children popcorn and Tang for meals. To make ends meet she attempts to find her missing husband and instead encounters his car as stolen by young Mohawk Lila (Misty Upham). Their confrontation leads to Ray and Lila partnering in smuggling immigrants (Chinese and Pakistani) from Canada to the US via drives across the frozen St. Lawrence river. How these two disparate women find common threads under desperate circumstances provides the bulk of this amazingly rich story.
Hunt manages to explore poverty, the displaced American Indian situation, smuggling, State Trooper mentality, and the extraordinary manner in which children left to their own parentless devices manage to stay above sinking with such skill that the incredible story being told seems like across the fence conversation - it is that real. The entire cast is exceptional, not only Leo and Upham, but all of the actors in even the smallest roles. This is a film to embrace, not avoid, as it speaks to the indomitable human spirit. Grady Harp
I have never written a review, so I'll be brief..
I noticed no other reviews so I just had to say, in
case anyone wanted to know...
this is a GREAT movie...