Frozen River


Frozen River

Critics Consensus

Veteran character actress Melissa Leo delivers a stunning performance in this powerful -- if grim -- indie film.



Reviews Counted: 134

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 85,864


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.3/5

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Movie Info

Frozen River is the story of Ray Eddy, an upstate New York trailer mom who is lured into the world of illegal immigrant smuggling when she meets a Mohawk girl who lives on a reservation that straddles the U.S.-Canadian border. Broke after her husband takes off with the down payment for their new doublewide, Ray reluctantly teams up with Lila, a smuggler, and the two begin making runs across the frozen St. Lawrence River carrying illegal Chinese and Pakistani immigrants in the trunk of Ray's Dodge Spirit.

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Michael O'Keefe
as Trooper Finnerty
Jay Klaitz
as Guy Versailles
John Canoe
as Bernie Littlewolf
Michael Sky
as Billy Three Rivers
Chen Li
as Chinese Girl
Li Wei
as Chinese Girl
Pun Bandhu
as Chinese Man
Mark Boone Jr.
as Jacque Bruno
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News & Interviews for Frozen River

Critic Reviews for Frozen River

All Critics (134) | Top Critics (33)

Occasionally marred by contrivance and a crude internal logic that doesn't bear close scrutiny, 'Frozen River' works best as a knuckle-gnawing, blue-collar genre thriller.

Jul 17, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

Leo and Upham give performances of great conviction and the film is bold and uncliched: especially the matter-of-fact treatment of guns.

Jul 17, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Hunt's grip on the impulsive fumblings of real-life behaviour is so firm that you stay with her all the way, almost forgetting to breathe. It's a simple story but a primal one, and it gives Leo the role she's long deserved.

Feb 27, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Despite a few contrived plot turns and some heavy handed symbolism, this first feature from writer-director Courtney Hunt can be recommended as a thriller, as a tearjerker, and as a regional study.

Feb 20, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Frozen River let me forget I was watching a movie, something that didn't happen often in 2008.

Feb 10, 2009 | Full Review…
Top Critic

There are moments of poetry on display.

Sep 5, 2008 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for Frozen River

I can't say exactly why this film so affected me, but it did. It was almost too real, viciously shot, plain and "boring" and heart-breaking enough that it could've been a Canadian film. Melissa Leo is believable, and from the opening shot - her smoking and crying in the car with the door hanging open, snow all around - you're hooked. Made me think of some of the bleaker films I've ever seen, and this one's just not uplifting in any way. A great, realistic story about the lengths people will go to for their children and their way of life, scrappy and well worth watching; strong, minimalist film-making that proves the budget isn't everything.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

A pointless film to say the least, More proof to the fact that being realistic is not enough for a movie to be good, The film depicts poverty & struggle without exploration or insight , It only tries to impress with its shallow bitterness & harshness and Fails

Arash Xak
Arash Xak

Super Reviewer

Morose tale of monstrous behavior among the desperate is ably but not expertly assembled. Leo's fearless performance is what stops Frozen from not melting into mediocrity.

Tony Gandía
Tony Gandía

Super Reviewer

An absorbing although bleak story concerning a desperate single mom struggling to make it after her husband deserts her and their two kids. In order to pay the bills she stumbles upon an opportunity to smuggle people in from Canada to the United States, where a frozen river means no border police and limited attention. This film wouldn't be nearly as good without Melissa Leo's extraordinary quietly intense portrayal of a woman whose world is collapsing and desperation is rearing its ugly head. It's never fun to watch and there is one little flaw with the story telling, but for the most part this is gripping stuff that doesn't for one minute feel artificial or that the actors in the film are acting. Leo is just so good in this movie - her weathered face and tired reactions capture all the stress and hurt her character has gone through in her life so far.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

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