Snow Falling on Cedars

1999, Drama/History, 2h 6m

92 Reviews 5,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

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

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Snow Falling on Cedars Photos

Movie Info

Fog as thick and palpable as cotton hangs suspended over San Piedro Island. On the bay, a flickering lantern signals distress from a crippled fishing boat, while elsewhere a freighter lurches blindly through the chalky mist. By morning, sea and sky are clear, but the tranquil village of fisherman and berry farmers will forever be changed. For one man has lost his life, and another -a childhood friend- has been charged with taking it. An investigation is launched. The trial begins.

Cast & Crew

Ethan Hawke
Ishmael Chambers
James Cromwell
Judge Fielding
Richard Jenkins
Sheriff Art Moran
James Rebhorn
Alvin Hooks
Sam Shepard
Arthur Chambers
Eric Thal
Carl Heine Jr.
Max von Sydow
Nels Gudmundsson
Yuki Kudo
Hatsue Miyamoto
Rick Yune
Kazuo Miyamoto
Jan Rubes
Ole Jurgensen
Celia Weston
Etta Heine
Max Wright
Horace Whaley
Arija Bareikis
Susan Marie Heine
Zeljko Ivanek
Dr. Whitman
Caroline Kava
Helen Chambers
Zak Orth
Deputy Abel Martinson
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Zenhichi Miyamoto
Reeve Carney
Young Ishmael Chambers
Anne Suzuki
Young Hatsue Imada
Scott Hicks
Screenwriter
Ronald Bass
Screenwriter
Richard Vane
Co-Producer
Robert Richardson
Cinematographer
Jeanne Oppewall
Production Design
Hank Corwin
Film Editing
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Critic Reviews for Snow Falling on Cedars

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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