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Frozen River - written and directed by Courtney Hunt

publication date: Jul 17, 2009
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author/source: Anne Coates
It's just days before Christmas. You have a part-time job in a local store and two sons. Your Mohawk-born husband - an addicted gambler - has just made off with all the money for your new prefabricated home. This is not the first time your husband has let you down so badly and it is only at your older son's insistence that you set off looking for him only to be faced with a moral decision that thankfully most single parents never have to make!

In her pursuit of her husband, Ray Eddy (Melissa Leo) discovers a Mohawk woman, Lila Littlewolf, (Misty Upham) has her husband's car - and a dangerous way of making money. Lila, a young widow, has her own reasons for living precariously. The two women strike up an uneasy partnership that gradually develops into a bond that never sinks into the sentimental.

Frozen River explores one mother's desperate attempts to keep her family together on the icy plains of the Canadian border. With such a bleak theme, Frozen River has surprisingly uplifting moments of pure joy.

Melissa Leo (21 Grams) is mesmeric in her portrayal of a woman driven to drastic measures and Courtney Hunt's direction is superb. The plot slowly grips you within its powerful realism. Ray Eddy is of necessity a hard woman who discovers her compassionate nature. I found the film a profoundly moving experience.

Frozen River (15) from Axiom Films is on general release.