Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Denmark/Germany/Sweden, 1997. Bavaria Film, Constantin Film, Det Danske Filminstitut, Greenland Film Production, Nordisk Film- & TV-Fond, Smilla Film A-S. Screenplay by Ann Biderman, based on the novel Froken Smillas Fornemmelse for Sne by Peter Hoeg. Cinematography by Jorgen Persson. Produced by Bernd Eichinger, Martin Moszkowicz. Music by Harry Gregson-Williams, Hans Zimmer. Production Design by Anna Asp. Costume Design by Marit Allen, Barbara Baum. Film Editing by Janus Billeskov Jansen. Berlin Film Festival 1997.
Julia Ormond is fantastic in this story about a half-Inuit woman living in Copenhagen who believes a little boy’s accidental death in her apartment building was more than just accidental. She investigates the affair until it takes her on a cross country adventure that ends up in the snowy wilds of Greenland. The film isn’t nearly as good as Peter Hoeg’s original novel (Smilla’s sense of snow was actually a part of the plot and not just the title), but it’s a great story that is filmed with beautifully icy precision by director Bille August (decidedly improving on The House of the Spirits) and punctuated by great actors in smaller roles (Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave). Ormond’s strength is what this one rides on, however, and she’s well worth the effort.