Snow Falling on Cedars

1999

Snow Falling on Cedars

Critics Consensus

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

40%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 91

68%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,237
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Snow Falling on Cedars Photos

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.

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Cast

Ethan Hawke
as Ishmael Chambers
James Cromwell
as Judge Fielding
Max von Sydow
as Nels Gudmundsson
Rick Yune
as Kazuo Miyamoto
James Rebhorn
as Alvin Hooks
Sam Shepard
as Arthur Chambers
Richard Jenkins
as Sheriff Art Moran
Reeve Carney
as Young Ishmael Chambers
Jan Rudes
as Ole Jurgensen
Anne Suzuki
as Young Hatsue Imada
Arija Bareikis
as Susan Marie Heine
Eric Thal
as Carl Heine Jr.
Celia Weston
as Etta Heine
Akira Takayama
as Hisao Imada
Ako
as Fujiko Imada
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
as Zenhichi Miyamoto
Zak Orth
as Deputy Abel Martinson
Max Wright
as Horace Whaley
Caroline Kava
as Helen Chambers
Jan Rubes
as Ole Jurgensen
Sheila Moore
as Liesel Jurgensen
Zeljko Ivanek
as Dr. Whitman
Seiji Inouye
as Young Kazuo Miyamoto
Saemi Nakamura
as Sumiko Imada
Mika Fujii
as Yukiko Imada
Dwight McFee
as Bus Driver
Henry O
as Nagaishi
Myles Ferguson
as German Soldier
Noah Heney
as Ship's Doctor
John Destrey
as Bailiff
A. Arthur Takemoto
as Buddhist Priest
Larry Musser
as Gas Station Attendant
Jamie Kang
as Singing Girl
Lili Marshall
as Strawberry Girl
Lisa Mena
as Strawberry Woman
Jethro Heysen-Hicks
as Parade Boy with Stick
Peter Crook
as Fisherman
Ron Snyder
as Fisherman
Jay Brazeau
as Reporter
Tom Scholte
as Reporter
Tim Burd
as Reporter
Gareth Williams
as FBI Agent
Adam Pospisil
as Heine Child
Johnny Brynelsen
as Heine Child
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Critic Reviews for Snow Falling on Cedars

All Critics (91) | Top Critics (27) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (55)

Audience Reviews for Snow Falling on Cedars

  • Jul 31, 2012
    I really enjoyed watching this film. First off the picture is simply beautiful. Just beautiful. Robert Richardson without a doubt stands alone as the greatest cinematographer of our time. The dark shadows, the fog, the beautiful wintery snow, the slow motions, the deep photography is really captivating. As for the story, well that seems to be the problem..."Snow Falling On Cedars" is about two stories. One it is about the murder of a fisherman that affects a community (reminiscent to Atom Egoyan's "The Sweet Hereafter") and two it is about a simple love story between a Japanese American girl and a Caucasian boy. One of the problems I think a lot of had while watching this picture is through the editing. Hank Corwin is my fav film editor and here he cuts the story back and fourth through flashbacks giving it a non-linear vibe. It can all be very confusing because everything becomes fractured, things aren't all quite clear and one has to sometimes double back to make sure they have an understanding of the plot. I also felt that the love story between Ishmael Chambers (Ethan Hawke) and Hatsue Miyamoto (Youki Kudoh) felt flat and somewhat boring. I wanted to be close to these characters more then anything, particularly Rick Yune's character since we should be looking at his POV and is a crucial character to the plot. I also felt the picture should have concentrated more on the Japanese community and really getting a sense of their struggles of prejudice/discrimination during those times. Overall if one doesn't mind what the picture is about and wants to see gorgeous photography and a balletic approach, well then this one's for you. If you have a strong dislike for slow moving plots/lacking characters then look elsewhere. Me personally, this film is a keeper.
    Brian R Super Reviewer
  • Jan 15, 2012
    This a slow film, but it has so much going on. Great cast and top notch DP work, incredible filming. Hawke is a little wasted but I wouldn't trade him in the role. Time has been kind to this film, and it deserves to be rediscovered. Solid filmmaking and a cult film in the making. This is far from poor. I don't agree with critics, there is more here and like the book it charts a beautiful course. 12/06/2019
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Aug 22, 2009
    <a href="http://tinypic.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i25.tinypic.com/11l3akn.jpg" border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic"></a>for disturbing images, sensuality and strong language. Snow falls on Cedar was more a court case movie than a romantic one that revealed the story of an American boy Ishmael and a Japanese girl Matsue. Nine years after their separation, the young lovers meet again at the trial of Matsue's husband Kazuo (Rick Yune), accused of murdering American fisherman Carl Heine.The performances and directing were unbelievable, especially Ethan Hawke in the role of Ishmael, a local reporter who was torn between love and doing the right thing. Some scenes were breath-taking and the music was amazing. A must to see.
    Daisy M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 07, 2008
    Who would think that after Shine Hicks would fall on mediocrity and boredom?Snow falling on cypress marbles.A metaphor?Probably,a simple flick regarding the prejudice of a noble society?Affirmative but where is the original pleasure and the heart of an auteur?
    Dimitris S Super Reviewer

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