SMILLAS SENSE OF SNOW
SMILLAS FEELING FOR SNOW
It is also a detective story that comes with an uncommon strength of characterization. The character of Smilla, removed from her natural environment, emotionally withdrawn and with an innate sense of the nature of snow, is a fascinating and deeply original creation. One of the standout aspects of the film is Julia Ormond, a highly talented actress who has been almost criminally neglected in the major recognition department and has almost entirely vanished from screens subsequent to this. It is she that succeeds in turning Smilla into a completely believable character on screen. You do not believe you are seeing an actress act, rather that you are seeing a real character on screen.
The Greenland locations are filmed with a glacial beauty, a cool that is only matched by the finesse of the story itself and the enrapt fascination it holds as it starts to unfold. I must admit that I am not a big fan of Danish director Bille August. Most of his reputation rests on Pelle the Conqueror (1987) about the harsh life of Danish immigrants, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but August disappointed with The House of the Spirits (1993), another quasi-genre work based on an acclaimed novel, and has done nothing of distinction since. Smilla's Sense of Snow was given an indifferent critical reception when it came out, much of which seemed based on the storys taking a turn into science-fiction at the ending (an aspect that comes direct from the book), but it is a strong and underrated film that is worthy of reconsideration.
(Winner for Best Actress (Julia Ormond), Nominee for Best Adapted Screenplay at this sites Best of 1997 Awards).