Smilla's Sense of Snow

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -2

Born in Greenland and brought to Denmark at age six by her father when her mother died, Smilla (Julia Ormond) has never adjusted to city life. Now in her thirties, she hates her wealthy father's young wife, can't hold a job and refuses to conform. She seems to care for no one until she meets 6-year-old Matthew. He lives in her apartment building with his alcoholic widowed mother, who also migrated from Greenland. Smilla becomes very fond of the boy, and when he's found dead from a fall off the building roof, she immediately suspects foul play. Her obsession with solving this mystery leads to some unbelievably bizarre situations. A mechanic (Gabriel Byrne) occupying a street level apartment attempts to befriend Smilla because he also cared for Matthew. From breaking into corporate archives to hiding aboard a mysterious freighter in Arctic waters, Smilla's common sense seems to abandon her as she plays Wonder Woman. Although the majestic Arctic scenery is gorgeous, it's difficult to become involved in a science fiction plot that ties Matthew's death to prehistoric worms. The film tries but fails to translate a fascinating novel into a satisfying screen experience.

The abrasive Smilla speaks most of the film's 11 obscenities. She literally snarls at her father's wife, once grabbing the woman's crotch and choking her. Dad (Robert Loggia) just shrugs his shoulders at his daughter's rudeness and writes another check. In flashbacks of Smilla with Matthew we see her nurturing side as she reads to him, bathes him and plays with him. One lady (Vanessa Redgrave) agrees to help Smilla because, in reading her Bible, the Scriptures spoke to her about finding truth. A fiery explosion triggers an icy avalanche that kills a man, and two others are drown in a separate incident. Ruthless government and corporate executives assassinate a sailor and an electronics expert who furnish Smilla clues and information. While not gratuitous, the bloody aftermath of these killings is not a pretty sight. Smilla uses a screwdriver to defend herself, inflicting wounds on her attacker. One brief sex scene with implied nudity between the mechanic and Smilla begins with passionate kissing. Gratuitous foul language, some gory violence and the sex scene will offend discerning viewers.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Fox Searchlight, 10201 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90035

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Few (3) times - Moderate

Obscene Language: Many (11) times - f-word 5, s-word 4, other 2

Profanity: Few (2) times - Regular 1 (J), Exclamatory 1

Violence: Many times - Moderate and Severe (explosion, avalanche kills man, two drownings, shootings with bloody aftermath, attempted murders, fighting, stabbing)

Sex: Once (couple in bed, nudity implied)

Nudity: None; near nudity twice (side view of bare buttocks in sex scene, low-cut dress)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (crude remarks about sex)

Drugs: Few times (alcohol drinking)

Other: Christian woman portrayed with respect

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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