Snow Angels Movie Review
A movie about teenage love, misinterpretation, jealousy and failed relationships, with a little murder sprinkled on top, Snow Angels stars Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell, Michael Angarano and Olivia Thirbly. Based on the novel by Stewart O'Nan, the movie is a harmless little film that evokes emotion yet feels emotionally distant at times.
Snow Angels is set in a small town where a high school boy named Arthur (Angarano) who is coming into his own has a crush on Annie, his former babysitter (Beckinsale), who now works with him at a restaurant. Annie has a child and is separated from her loser husband, Glenn (Rockwell), a man who is good by nature but who always manages to mess things up. While a relationship slowly develops between Arthur and his classmate Lila (Thirbly), Annie and Glenn's relationship goes downhill. When their daughter suddenly disappears, however, Glenn is blamed, igniting the powder deg and setting of a spiral of events.
The movie has a crisp, clean look to it, as given by writer/director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express). This is only fitting given the title, as it really does feel as though you've been dropped into this town for a beautiful winter. Snow is everywhere, and the movie feels like you've stepped outside one morning to your breath in the air and the sun out, but giving out no warmth.
Beyond the visuals, though, Green has a very matter-of-fact approach to the story. Snow Angels feels like a snapshot of these people's lives, and that works both in the film's favor and against it. Each character is interesting in its own right, but while I liked how Arthur and Lila served as a sense of reality for the broader story, I didn't really get the point of their characters. After all, the truly interesting aspect of the movie is the crumbling relationship between Annie And Glenn; everything else feels like filler. The fact that Arthur and Lila - Arthur especially - are treated as equal characters was a bit confusing, and a little distracting.
On a cinematic level, Snow Angels works, but it didn't blow me away. The lack of power at times is intentional, but works against the picture, too. The movie is interesting, but when all is said and done, it doesn't leave a lasting impression. It's one of those movies I'm glad I watched, but will never think of watching it again - assuming I even remember it a year from now.
Snow Angels is the movie Green set out to make, but it's not quite enough to elevate it to the realm of memorable cinema.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.