The Sweet Hereafter (1997)

Ian Holm (THE FIFTH ELEMENT, BIG NIGHT) stars in this quiet, quirky
Canadian drama about a remote British Columbia community, a school
bus accident that kills a chunk of their children, and the ready-
to-sue ambulance-chaser (Holm) who arrives in short order.  Writer/
director Atom Egoyan (EXOTICA), adapting from the novel by Russell
Banks, contrasts the town's collective grief with Holm's 
character's struggle to accept the loss of his own child-- a drug-
addicted daughter that he can't keep from loving, no matter how 
many times she breaks his heart.  Heavy stuff, but Egoyan has a few 
tricks up his sleeve to keep the potentially wrenching drama at a 
discretionary distance.  (The non-linear story structure, with its
interwoven flashbacks, in one such device.)  A remarkably centered
performance by Holm is the centerpiece of this absorbing and, at
times, haunting film.  (I was moved, but not to tears.  Of course, 
I'm not a parent, either.)  Gorgeous winter photography, too, by 
Paul Sarossy.  With Sarah Polley, Bruce Greenwood, Tom McCamus, 
Gabrielle Rose, Arsinee Khanjian, SPANKING THE MONKEY's Alberta
Watson, and a surprisingly menacing Maury Chaykin.  (Rated "R"/110

Grade: A-

Copyright 1998 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: January 28, 1998

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