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Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)

tomatometer

40

Average Rating: 5.2/10
Reviews Counted: 91
Fresh: 36 | Rotten: 55

Though Snow Falling on Cedars is beautiful to look at, critics say the story becomes dull and tedious to sit through.

27

Average Rating: 4.6/10
Critic Reviews: 26
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 19

Though Snow Falling on Cedars is beautiful to look at, critics say the story becomes dull and tedious to sit through.

audience

68

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 8,148

My Rating

Movie Info

On a wintry Pacific Northwest island community in 1950, a quiet fisherman stands trial for murder. It looks like a straightforward case of cold-blooded homicide. But as the trial unfolds, the simple story of the man's death unravels into a deeply haunting mystery and an extraordinary tale about the persistence of hate and the power of love.

PG-13,

Drama, Romance

David Guterson, Ron Bass, Scott Hicks

May 30, 2000

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All Critics (108) | Top Critics (28) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (55) | DVD (13)

A visual and emotional feast.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: CNN.com
CNN.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pretty but chilly.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's second to none in its ability to specify a world and immerse us in it.

January 1, 2000
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Impeccably crafted but dramatically dull.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Reveals itself with the complexity of a novel, holding its themes up to the light so that first one and then another aspect can be seen.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: At the Movies
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I found much of it as dispiriting as a museum tour conducted in soporific tones by an overexposed TV pundit.

January 1, 2000
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Shot either in extreme, eye-swelling close-ups or in excessively composed, arty landscapes, I now know more about the blood vessels in these actors' noses than I care to.

July 5, 2011 Full Review Source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Good movie for adults and older teens.

December 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

... it powerfully re-creates the history, captures the essence of Guterson's characters, and carries us through hypnotized by breathtaking cinematography.

December 6, 2004
Looking Closer

...the movie is, for the most part, just unreasonably dull.

November 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Badly hobbled by an over-emphasis upon cinematic technique that obliterates the emotional undertow of the story.

August 21, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Hicks and cinematographer Robert Richardson give this interdicted love affair an emotional immediacy with the sheer brute force of their images.

March 23, 2001 Full Review Source: Matinee Magazine
Matinee Magazine

You can't say the title for Snow Falling on Cedars is misleading. Because that's pretty much what you get.

January 1, 2000
Philadelphia Daily News

Crashes under the weight of its own ambitions.

January 1, 2000
Los Angeles Daily News

Wait 'till it comes out at the second runs or on video.

January 1, 2000
Greenwich Village Gazette

Snow Falling doesn't melt, but it drifts.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Union-Tribune

As stimulating as watching snow falling on cedars.

January 1, 2000 Full Review
KUTV-TV

A real treat for the eyes and the ears. Your mind, however, will not be equally engaged.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Internet Reviews
Internet Reviews

Overly pretentious.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Compuserve
Compuserve

Universal is marketing this film for Best Picture is an insult to the Academy's intellect.

January 1, 2000
Moviereviews.org

Snow Falling on Cedars falls victim to its own reverential attitude: it forgets to include some human beings in its passionate defense of them.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: culturevulture.net
culturevulture.net

The film seems to be the work of a visual pack rat, stitched together in a feat of manic, roving impressionism that is much too polite to acknowledge the presence of anger.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco Examiner

Audience Reviews for Snow Falling on Cedars

Beautiful performances, cinematography, editing, and score. BUT I must say watching this film again with a total paranoid cynic who doesn't think films should get wrapped up in the awesomeness of their own beauty has harshed my mellow a bit. The montages and flashback/forward editing ARE slightly self-indulgent and they take time away from the most iconic (3 second) shot of the movie - that of the Japanese internment camp prisoners walking on the docks under a blissfully ignorant American flag. If you're gonna make a statement, damn well make it right!
March 10, 2008
aliceinpunderland

Super Reviewer

This is the first movie I've ever seen that addressed the issue of the Japanese internment during WWII (aside from the fleeting reference in Midway) -- It shows how Childhood friendship pays off in adulthood -- I loved it!
October 23, 2007
sainttom93
Tom Ericksen

Super Reviewer

When an american-japanese fisherman is accused of murdering an childhood friend in the shadow of WWII, Ethan Hawke finds himself trapped in a crisis of conscience when he comes across possible evidence of his innocence. This is a beautifully crafted, very literary period drama in which the courtroom scenes are intercut with flashbacks from the lives of the various protagonists to produce a rich tapestry of motives, prejudices and conflicts of interest that affect their actions. It's beautifully shot in gorgeous snow-laden countryside, with a sensitive and pivotal performance by Youki Kudoh, while Max Von Sydow dominates the courtroom scenes in his inimitable style. It reminded me a little of a chilly English Patient. Except it's good.
August 16, 2007
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

    1. Nels Gudmundsson: Accident rules every corner of the universe... except perhaps the chambers of the human heart.
    – Submitted by Chad E (2 years ago)
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