Kerr's Corner

Kerr's Corner is a regular feature in East Antrim and Newtownabbey editions of The Wizard. David Kerr would like to hear your memories of life in your own area. Maybe you'll trigger some thoughts for a future column. kerrscorner@ulsteronline.org.uk

Monday, August 21, 2006

Film Review - Snow Cake – Autism N.I. Premiere – Wednesday 23rd August

I WAS delighted to have the opportunity to attend the premiere of the film, Snow Cake at the Movie House, Dublin Road, Belfast.

Having never been to a premiere before, I wasn’t sure what to expect, and it certainly seemed strange to be dressed to the nines just to go to the cinema!When we arrived we headed for the champagne and Guinness reception, after collecting our goodie bags. No Rolex watches or Tiffany jewellery, but lovely skin and hair care products as well as perfume samples and other nick nacks. Very acceptable!

After indulging in a glass (or two) of champagne, we headed in to watch the film.

Set in Canada, the film introduces us to Alex Hughes ( Alan Rickman), just arrived from England and heading for Winnipeg.

It starts off slowly with Alex hiring a car and going to a diner for something to eat. There he encounters the wonderfully kooky, Vivienne (Emily Hampshire), who is hoping to hitch a lift to her hometown to see her mother. Despite his initial misgivings he finally agrees to take her along.

As they travel, Alex starts to relax as Vivienne makes him laugh with her questions and observations.

I felt myself really warming to her character and so was very shocked when they are involved in a very serious road accident.

In the aftermath, Alex decides to visit Viviennes’ mother, Linda (Sigourney Weaver), to tell her what happened and to give her a present that her daughter had bought her.

Linda certainly wasn’t what he expected, and he soon discovers she suffers from High Functioning Autism and has a particular obsession with snow.

As the mother of a teenage boy with Autism, I could certainly relate to all her little quirks, her love of order and her seeming indifference to the tragedy that had befallen her family.
This character was wonderfully portrayed by Weaver. She had based the character on Roz Blackburn a British woman with Autism, who advised her.Having seen Miss Blackburn at a conference I could see how Weaver had picked out her mannerisms and had got them perfectly.

The film then follows Alex as he stays with Linda and Viviennes dog Marilyn who lives on a diet of bananas!

He meets the mysterious but beautiful Maggie (Carrie-Anne Moss) and embarks on an affair.

Alex has a secret past and the local Police Officer, Clyde (James Allodi) is anxious for his some time girlfriend, Maggie, to know about it.

This film was beautifully shot, the scenery is fabulous and I was very impressed with the wonderful statue of a Canada Goose on the outskirts of the town. It made me want to go there.
I don’t want to tell you any more about the plot, suffice to say the film is everything I hoped it would be, and more. It gives an insight into the world of Autism, and how it impacts on families and friends. It is funny, heart warming, moving and sad.

Alan Rickman was superb; he has such screen presence and is one of my favourite actors. The film was well cast, and is worthwhile going to see even if you have no interest in Autism.

Much praise should go to Autism NI (PAPA) for hosting this premiere. It was well organised and the prize draw was excellent with some great prizes. Top prize was return tickets to Canada with Zoom Airlines, which sadly I didn’t win! This was drawn by Donna Trainor of BBC Newsline.

All in all a good night at the movies, though next time I’ll settle for popcorn and diet coke instead of champagne and canapés!

Margaret Field

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