|SNOW ANGELS (director/writer: David Gordon Green; screenwriter: novel by Stewart O’Nan; cinematographer: Tim Orr; editor: William Anderson; music: David Wingo/Jeff McIlwain; cast: Kate Beckinsale (Annie Marchand), Sam Rockwell (Glenn Marchand), Michael Angarano (Arthur Parkinson), Jeanneta Arnette (Louise Parkinson), Griffin Dunne (Don Parkinson), Nicky Katt (Nate Petite), Tom Noonan (Mr. Chervenick), Connor Paolo (Warren Hardesky), Amy Sedaris (Barb Petite), Olivia Thirlby (Lila Raybern), Grace Hudson (Tara Marchand); Runtime: 106; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Dan Lindau/Paul Miller/Lisa Muskat/Cami Taylor; Warner Independent Pictures; 2007)|
|"It starts out as a lyrically
beautiful work, but goes amiss at the halfway
mark and concludes with a misplaced harrowing
by Dennis Schwartz
David Gordon Green ("Undertow"/"George
Washington"/"All the Real Girls") bases his downbeat
stylish coming-of-age film, that tries
to inject some comedy into its humorless subject, on
the 1994 novel by Stewart O’Nan.
It's his first film in which he hasn't written.
The film was shot in Nova Scotia, but is set in a
wintry unnamed small-town in Pennsylvania,
in 1974. It starts out as a lyrically beautiful work,
but goes amiss at the halfway mark and concludes with
a misplaced harrowing finale. The film is told in
flashback, after an opening sequence where a high
school marching band practices outdoors on a snowy
field and are jolted by the sound of gunshots in the
Marchand (Kate Beckinsale) is a young
waitress in a Chinese restaurant living with her mom
while raising a three-year-old daughter
(Grace Hudson). She's separated from the born-again
Christian loser Glenn Marchand (Sam Rockwell), the
high school sweetheart she mistakenly married, who
repeatedly harasses her to get together again by
promising he will straightens out his life. Meanwhile
Annie is sleeping with Nate (Nicky Katt), who is
married to her friend Barb (Amy Sedaris).
part-time at the local Chinese restaurant with Annie
is the shy high school trumpet player in the marching
band, Arthur Parkinson (Michael Angarano),
who finds living at home with his squabbling parents
unbearable. Finally his wayward father, Don (Griffin
Dunne), leaves. His distraught
mother Louise (Jeanneta Arnette)
tries to keep things intact after the split-up and
adjusts to no longer being married.
work Arthur flirts openly with Annie, who used to be
his baby-sitter. At school, the nerdy Arthur
attracts the love interest of his nerdy but pretty new
classmate Lila Raybern (Olivia
The film heads to its tragic climax as it conveys the personal pain of the small town residents, the unstable people with guns, that the mixture of booze and religious extremism is a bad combo and that even in the beautiful country setting there are many unhappy people. It's good on getting the details to the everyday lives of the locals, but bad on trying to connect their lives as to why the country is under such dark clouds.
REVIEWED ON 6/1/2015 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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