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Frozen River, which takes place in late December in a cold and barren landscape that straddles the Canadian-American border between New York and Montreal and includes part of a Mohawk reservation where "there are no borders."
This movie has it all: a couple of women, one white (Ray) and one Native (Lila), who've been done wrong; a bingo hall; a store called Yankee Dollar; a car with a trunk that's big enough to hold two people; a frozen track across the St. Lawrence River; a couple of guns; a French-Canadian gangster; illegal immigrants who need to get from Canada to the US; a politely racist border patrolman; several trailers, two worn out, one new; a great story and great acting.
No one trusts anyone here: Lila doesn't trust whites, the highway patrolmen don't trust Natives, Ray doesn't trust South Asians, Chinese men don't trust women drivers, the Mohawks don't trust non-Mohawks, even if they're Natives—kind of like that song the Kingston Trio sang in the 60s:
The whole world is festering With unhappy souls The French hate the Germans, The Germans hate the Poles Italians hate Yugoslavs South Africans hate the Dutch And I don't like anybody very much
Powerlessness and desperation push Ray and Lila together but it's their strength and determination that, in the end, push them to trust each other and take control of their lives. The story unfolds slowly as we learn more about the women and their communities but there's plenty of suspense (helped along by a subdued but powerful soundtrack) and just the right amount of humour. When it was over I said to myself "that was a great movie" and then I turned the commentary to ON and watched it all over again.