Spoiler Alert (although the trailers tell more)
Frozen River is without a doubt the best movie I've seen in months. It's the kind of movie that generated an hour-long discussion afterward among the 15 people I saw it with (I don't always travel in gangs, long story).
The director, Courtney Hunt, went on the premise that the viewer was smart enough to figure things out over the course of the movie. And only over time, will you figure out Ray and Lila's full story.
Melissa Leo, always a standout in Homicide, plays the mother of two boys who has to find a way to support them when their father takes off. A young Mohawk woman, first forces her and then joins with her, in escorting illegal immigrants across Mohawk land in upstate New York.
I won't say anymore than that because the plot defies your expectations many times. It also has the good sense to end on a hopeful note. Seeing a movie set in this unfamiliar and remote place became a joyful experience despite the harshness of the story. It was nail-bitingly exciting and moving at the same time. See it. You won't be sorry. Leo deserves an Oscar nomination and her costar, Misty Upham, a supporting one. And give Hunt one too.
ONE MORE THING-THANKS TO WHOEVER RECOMMENDED SHOTGUN STORIES. IT WAS SUPERLATIVE. (Available on DVD)