Snow Angels


Snow Angels

Critics Consensus

With fine acting and considerable emotional depth, Snow Angels aptly captures the highs, and especially the lows of human relationships.



Total Count: 112


Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,685
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Snow Angels Photos

Movie Info

Director/screenwriter David Gordon Green adapts Stewart O'Nan's popular novel to the screen in this feature, which tells the parallel tales of a teenager named Arthur (Michael Angarano) and his onetime babysitter Annie (Kate Beckinsale) -- whose turbulent relationship with her estranged husband, Glenn (Sam Rockwell), leads the small-town waitress down a troubled path. Arthur is a high-school student from a dysfunctional family, and does everything in his power to avoid hanging around the house while mom and dad quarrel. When he's not practicing his trombone and performing with the high-school marching band, Arthur can usually be found bussing tables at the local Chinese restaurant and flirting with older waitress Annie. Annie used to be Arthur's babysitter, and is currently struggling to separate from her former high-school sweetheart, Glenn. But being a single mother isn't easy, especially since the troubled Glenn wants nothing more than to clean up his act and reunite his family. Back at school, Arthur and pretty classmate Lila (Olivia Thirlby) have been bonding over their mutual love for all things geeky. Though the casual friendship shows promise of evolving into something more when Lila expresses her true feelings for Arthur, he can't help but becoming distracted by his chaotic family life: his father is moving out of the family home, and his mother is doing everything in her power to maintain some semblance of normalcy. Realizing that happiness is fleeting as his family becomes shattered and Annie experiences a series of distressing encounters with Glenn, Arthur gradually begins to fall for Lisa despite his growing cynicism concerning long-term relationships. Later, on a cold winter morning, Glenn and Annie's past catches up with them in a blinding flash, and the lives of everyone they know are suddenly and irrevocably changed.

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Kate Beckinsale
as Annie Marchand
Sam Rockwell
as Glenn Marchand
Michael Angarano
as Arthur Parkinson
Nicky Katt
as Nate Petite
Jeanetta Arnette
as Louise Parkinson
Griffin Dunne
as Don Parkinson
Tom Noonan
as Mr. Chervenick
Connor Paolo
as Warren Hardesky
Amy Sedaris
as Barb Petite
Olivia Thirlby
as Lila Raybern
Grace Hudson
as Tara Marchand
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News & Interviews for Snow Angels

Critic Reviews for Snow Angels

All Critics (112) | Top Critics (34)

  • So when the film's moment of horror arrives, it's not with suspense but instead the sort of dully anticipatory inevitability that drains as much energy from the story as from the audience.

    Feb 2, 2009 | Full Review…

    Mark Bourne
    Top Critic
  • It's a movie that keeps its distance from the characters, so much that we can shudder at what we fear is to come but aren't really allowed to mourn the innocent trapped in this downward spiral.

    Apr 24, 2008 | Rating: 3/5
  • A perfect match of material and sensibility.

    Apr 11, 2008 | Rating: 3/4
  • It's well-made. Searingly acted. Potent. And by the time it was over, its climax realized at the water's edge of insanity and grief, I felt beaten about the head with sticks.

    Apr 11, 2008 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Yes, it's painful, but Snow Angels is so full of rich performances and characterizations that even gunshots can't kill its power.

    Apr 3, 2008 | Full Review…
  • The writing and the performances are such that as things go from bad (sad motel-room affairs) to worse (a 4-year-old gone missing), the film's characters get inside your skin, your soul. It's enough to make you want to cry.

    Mar 28, 2008 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Snow Angels

  • Dec 08, 2012
    This is a great film by David Gordon Green. I was taken with the characters and their way of life and their problems. The film has a real sense of blue collar life that wouldn't comprehend with big studios. Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell put in fine performances in "Snow Angels". I also admired the slowly developed romantic connection between Michael Angarano and Olivia Thirlby characters. It's how real life high school couples slowly become intimately connected and it works. David Gordon Green has the heart and the romantic touch like a fine painter. The story is about a high school band is practicing for the last football game, when they hear gunshots. The picture abruptly flashes back to a few weeks before, to an Asian restaurant where a high school boy named Arthur (Michael Angarano) buses tables, and his ex-babysitter, Annie (Kate Beckinsale), and her best friend, Barb (Amy Sedaris), are waitresses. Arthur, who's a bit of a misfit, has a troubled home life caused by his constantly clashing parents, both of whom often forget about him. Annie's life isn't faring much better: she's now a single mother with an ill mother, separated from her husband, Glenn (Sam Rockwell), who's on the wagon and becoming a born-again Christian in order to prove that he is responsible enough to spend time with their young daughter, Tara (Gracie Hudson). Depressed and lonely, Annie is having an affair with Barb's husband, Nate (Nicky Katt), which eventually serves to only make her unhappier, as she feels great guilt over betraying her best friend. Desperate to prove himself and still harboring feelings for his estranged wife (whom he suspects is seeing someone), Glenn gets a new job and spends as much time as possible with Tara. Meanwhile, Arthur finds himself growing close to Lila (Olivia Thirlby), a new student at the high school who has a knack for photography. The film focuses heavily on how people's lives can cross in a small town, especially when Tara wanders out of the house and goes missing while Annie, having just lost her best friend over the affair, is sleeping. The whole town spends hours desperately searching for Tara, before Arthur finds her body while smoking pot with his friend. To Annie's horror, Tara fell into the lake while playing and drowned when the water froze over. So in a way it feels like a Robert Altman picture with characters crossing lives in a small town. If you dislike watching character driven films then "Snow Angels" is not for you but if you are the opposite, you will instantly be taken with the characters and notice a fine filmmaker painstakingly crafting a delicate film at the height of his powers.
    Brian R Super Reviewer
  • Sep 28, 2012
    Stories about teenage love and a marriage that has all but disintegrated are interconnected in this drama. Strong performances by Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell highlight this indie drama, but the film's weakness is its inability to either reach the Altman Standard for interconnecting stories or link the stories with a common theme. The best that I can manage for a common theme is weak: I think the film suggests that relationships inevitably decay despite the grand optimism with which we enter them, a claim evidenced by the parallels between Annie and Glenn's marriage and their younger counterparts. But I feel like I'm doing more work than the film is in order to tease some semblance of sense. Overall, this effort represents the dangers of trying to do too much and fit a whole novel into a medium that can't carry all the weight.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Oct 21, 2011
    When hear that title, you can picture the ultimate in melodrama, but when you hear that the director went on to direct "Pineapple Express" and "Your Highness", you're thinking that this is about a more dramatic drug than weed, and that the "Snow" in the title is code for cocaine. I know that sounds like a stretch, but when you think about it, Sam Rockwell must be on the powder, because that's just about the only explanation for his walking on set all energetic, charismatic and dancing like the "naturally" white Michael Jackson, only to crash, just in time for the interviews and behind-the-scenes, where he becomes the dullest human being that wasn't the subject for a Terrence Malick film. He's like James Franco, only Rockwell didn't mutilate himself onscree-oh wait, I forgot that he was in "Gentlemen Broncos". Well, at least he'd be a better Oscar host, because man, he can dance like nobody's business, and that seems to be the criteria for being an Oscar host. Hey, at the very least, he should win an Oscar, because I must say that he is easily fairly high up in today's acting elites, which means that he'll probably get a Golden Globe, because at this point, the Globes know what they're talking about more than the Oscars and their Best-Director-to-Tom-Hooper-giving selves. In just five sentences, I went from talking about Sam Rockwell on cocaine, to the Golden Globes being more credible than the Oscars. Hey, at least it's not as big of a stretch as the tone change halfway through this film... or this segway into the discussion about the film. The first half of this film is like "Slap Shot", only it's not numbingly monotonous, plotless, packed with despicable characters or like "Slap Shot", in terms of premise at all. Other than the fact that this is also in a snowy environment, I only liken the first half of this film to "Slap Shot", because I can't think of any other film that's as tediously slow, unengaging or short on immediate development. In fact, I still can't think of any other film, because this isn't nearly on that level, but it's still rather slow and lacking in the immediate development departments, leaving engagement to drop off every now and then. It doesn't help that a lot of points in this film feel rather thrown together and that on the handful of occasions where the score does show up, its tone goes against that of the situation at hand. That last flaw doesn't really have anything to do with the film being unengaging at points, but it is still kind of annoying. Still, development builds and unengagement fades off with the slowness, come the second half, but that transformation itself is a bit of a flaw, because the tone changes so quickly, not to a terribly drastic extent, but still enough to where it's a bit offputting. Still, although the film isn't terribly outstanding or smoothly executed, what is consistent in this film is the compelling realism, entirely carried by the performances alone. I opened the review joking that the title promises melodrama, but when you see the film, that is most definately not the case. Sure, these storylines aren't terribly inventive, but they're still approached in believable and compelling fashions, partially made so by the performances. Everyone plays their parts sharply, with each person emiting strong chemistry and a captivating, individually unique atmosphere that draws you to them and leaves you wondering about every member of this large cast. Of course, of the several storylines, the most interesting is easily that of the crumbling Marchand family, not just because it's the most complex and heavy story, but because Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale put on what are easily the two best performances out of the entire film. Their chemistry with each other and the people around them is so believable and charming, when not compellingly complex, but when the major dramatic turn rolls in, they're given more to do and boy, do they do it very well, with excellent emotional work and equally compelling atmospheres that leave you questioning who to side with. Still, between the two of them, Sam Rockwell still comes out on top as the stand-alone best performer in the film, because his character suffers through many complex and painful psychological layers and struggles, and Rockwell's startlingly believable ability to convey the Glenn Marchand character's gradual collapse and consistent pressure with a sense of isolation is absolutely awe-inspiring. If you see this film for no other reason, then see it for yet another stellar performance by Mr. Rockwell, which isn't to say that there's not plenty of other strengths that make this film worth seeing. Overall, it sets its tones well, but dances between them in a fashion that's either slow or bumpy, but in spite of it all, the compelling realism, carried by a wide cast of captivating performers - with an excellent Kate Beckinsale and a typically stellar Sam Rockwell bringing the most to the screen - leave "Snow Angels" to stand as a generally enjoyable, when not respectably heartbreaking portrait on the complexities within people and their relationships. 3/5 - Good
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Jun 08, 2011
    An overwrought tragedy, that doesn't provide much of a purpose. A good watch for Beckinsale and Rockwell fans, maybe.
    Sajin P Super Reviewer

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