Snow Falling on Cedars

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -1

When a fisherman mysteriously drowns on a foggy evening, his childhood friend Kazuo Miyamoto (Rick Yune) is charged with the killing. Prosecutors have a strong circumstantial case, but Kazuo strongly denies any involvement in the death. Meanwhile, town reporter, Ishmael Chambers (Ethan Hawke), covers the case daily and watches as the only woman hes ever loved, Hatsue (Youki Kudoh), struggles through the trial of her husband. Little do they know that their difficult relationship has a bearing on the high profile trial. The trial occurs in 1950, just a few years after all of the Japanese people in the town were marched off to an American concentration camp during World War II, which adds to the tension. Beautifully filmed with a rich, musical score, the director effectively uses flashbacks to fill in the story. Veteran actor Max von Sydow is wonderful as the gracious defense attorney, making the film a likely nominee during award season. This gripping and emotional story is sure to win the hearts of many.

To explain the building tension in the community, one of the flashbacks chronicles a time during World War II when Japanese-Americans were taken from their homes. In scenes eerily similar to the Germans taking Jews to concentration camps, these horrendous events took place under an American flag. Sex is implied twice in the film, once between a married couple in the shower and, in a flashback, between teen high-schoolers. Another brief sex scene shows motion and sounds but no nudity occurs. Although few, objectionable words in the dialogue include 1 f-word and 3 regular profanities. Sadly, a few coarse elements tarnish this wonderful film about forgiveness and love for other human beings, no matter what their race.

Preview Reviewer: John Adair
Universal Pictures, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

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 (4) times - Mild 3, Moderate 1

Obscene Language: Few (2) times - F-word 1, other 1

Profanity: Few (3) times All Regular (J)

Violence: Few times Mild and Moderate (dead men in war scenes, drowned man in water, man hit with gun, mans arm amputated)

Sex: Few times Once brief (married couple in bed with noises), Implied twice (married couple in shower, unmarried teens outside)

Nudity: None; Near Nudity: Once - (couple obscured in shower)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Once (smoking)

Other: Issue of racism brought to forefront, Japanese looked down on by some in the community; questions about the fairness and unfairness of life; issue of the frailty of humanity; courtroom trials are not just about justice - they also involve imperfect humans

Running Time: 126 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults

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