Alex (Alan Rickman), a tight-lipped Englishman recently freed from prison, is driving through Ontario when he begrudgingly picks up the vivacious teenage hitchhiker Vivienne (Emily Hampshire). On the outskirts of her hometown, a truck hits the car. Vivienne dies instantly and Alex finds himself, for the second time in his life, grieving for someone he never knew. Devastated by the accident, Alex goes to the frozen backwater of Wawa, Ontario to visit Vivienne’s mother Linda (Sigourney Weaver). There, he discovers that she is autistic with an unconventional take on life and mourning. Drawn in to the small frozen backwater community, Alex soon forms a close relationship with Linda, begins an affair with her sassy neighbour Maggie (Carrie-Anne Moss), and becomes the object of scrutiny by the ineffectual law enforcement officer Clyde (James Allodi). As the funeral approaches, life in Wawa seems to have enabled Alex to face the present, but how will he cope when the dark secrets of his past finally emerge?
2006 – Certificate 15 – UK/Canada
Rating Details: Strong Language
8 out of 10
Well that’s it over with then. Life I mean. Last Sunday it was my 50th birthday. A future of increasing ill-health, an inability to do or remember things, walking sticks, Zimmer frames, bifocals, tablets from the doctor, hip replacements and finally death, are all I have to look forward to now. As the Borg might say, “Your life as it has been, is over.” I awoke this morning to find that overnight, a year’s worth of new aches and pains had been applied to my body, plus the special ‘new decade’ bonus ones, plus the 50 year Jackpot selection. To say I now feel as if I’m virtually bed-bound wouldn’t be an exaggeration. I did nothing to celebrate the momentous occasion, except mope about at home. In some ways I was quite sad; I wished I could thank my parents for having me, being 50 felt like an especially appropriate point to do so, but it’s a bit too late for that now; (or, if your belief system supports it, a bit too early). I was rubbish at being a young person, ineffective in middle-age and now I’m probably well on my way to becoming a cantankerous, teenager-hating, lecherous, ‘the world owes me a living’ old person. Actually I’m quite looking forward to that. In a similar way, this movie is about life as it has been, being over.
I really enjoyed this film. It’s touching, funny and grounded. It has some really wonderfully acted characters. The aforementioned car crash provides a full-blown OMG movie moment. Sigourney Weaver’s Linda is as far away from Ripley (“Alien”) that it’s possible to get, although both characters share a strength of character. Her portrayal of a woman with autism seemed very convincing. Alan Rickman’s laconic Alex is a sympathetic and interesting character, despite his background. It’s also a film with a proper start, middle and end. It’s not perfect though. Sometimes the storyline goes a bit off track; I especially had trouble accepting Alex to be such a babe magnet and the subplot involving him and the neighbour did distract from the rest of the story a bit. Vivienne is also one of those teenagers that doesn’t really exist in real life, but turns up in films on a regular basis.
There isn’t a large amount of music in the film and much of it is pretty generic. However, when it is used, it greatly adds to the impact of the scenes. Lovely job.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Recommended for people who like character-driven dramas.
Top badass moment? Finding out from Linda that having a mouthful of snow is like having an orgasm. That’s pretty badass when you think about it, and cold.