Snow Falling on Cedars 

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Snow Falling on Cedars : Friday January 7, 1999

Fog as thick and palpable as cotton hangs suspended over San Pedro Island. On the bay, a flickering lantern signals distress from a crippled fishing boat, while elsewhere a freighter lurches blindly through the chalky mist. By morning, sea and sky are clear, but the tranquil village of fisherman and berry farmers will forever be changed. For one man has lost his life, and another -a childhood friend- has been charged with taking it. An investigation is launched. The trial begins.

A reporter covering the trial, Ishmael Chambers, sits in the courtroom, carefully observing the person with whom he shared the rapturous secrets of childhood, the only woman he has ever loved. Hatsue, the defendant's wife. Their tortured relationship will have an unexpected bearing on the trial of Kazuo Miyamoto, which serves to frame Snow Falling On Cedars. -- 1999 Universal Pictures

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Ebert UsaToday Mr Showbiz Herald Average
Points 87.5 50 62 25 56.13



56.13 - Go See At Matinee

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Rating System:

0 - 40 points

Not Worth Seeing
40 - 65 points  Go See At Matinee
65- 85 points Worth Seeing
85-100 points Definitely worth seeing. "A must see!"


Scott Hicks


Scott Hicks 

Ronald Bass 




Ethan Hawke  as  Ishmael Chambers 
James Cromwell as Judge Fielding
Youki Kudoh as Hatsue Miyamoto

Running Time

2 hours - 6 minutes


Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, sensuality and brief strong language. 


Universal Pictures


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 The People's Review of Snow Falling on Cedars

score = None
MY SCORE IS 85----for some reason you can't give half score's in the score box<<<strange:^(...anyway about the movie after reading albion post i was going to stay away from cedars,but luckly i kept reading more post's and they were right it was a good movie.the best actor's in the movie were max von sydow(hope i spelled it right)he was great as the defendant's laywer,also i liked the judge played by james cromwell,i also liked the actor who played the defendant's but i dont know his once again an 85....cya's

score = 10
Not a "movie" at all, but a series of artsy mood photos interupted by a murder trial story that is almost impossible to follow due to the digressive flash back vignettes.  The camera sees almost everything in close up (faces, hands, tree branches, etc.) or through the proverbial glass darkly, never drawing back far enough to establish a context.  Too many images out of focus.  Too much ethereal sound track string-simpering music, cuing us about how to react.  Too much cliched liberal claptrap about how guilty we should all feel about the treatrmemt of Japanese/Americans during WWII.  Yes, their plight was outrageous, probably unconstitutional, but must we wallow in it?  I hated this film more than any other I've seen in the past year or so.

Emma Norris 

score = 90 
What I don't understand is how the 'critics' can be so critical. I believe that they are failing to see into the movie, failing to relate to the themes, ideas and symbols crafted by not only the actors, but everyone involved in this film. Show Falling on Cedars gives many people an insight into the conflict between the Japaneese and Americans, which many people in society (Australia for example) hadn't realised happened. The messages of love, triumph and friendship are so powerful, that I couldn't get enough tissues in both the novel and film. Therefore, the 'critics' must stop, take the time to absorb the messages of such a film, before they shoot it down in flames.

score = 90 
Don't listen to the critics on this one!  This is a truly excellent movie.  I don't agree at all about the comments that the unusual film techniques detract from the film.  It made the movie for me!   It's beautiful, creative, artistic and very well directed. 
score = 90 
It was a beautiful movie, with great film editing, acting, story and scenery

Per Lundblad 
score = 90 
One of the most inventive, well acted, stunningly photographed and original movies to come from Hollywood in a long time. A triumph for Hicks, who nearly reinvents cinematic narrative. 

score = 90 
Really great movie. I liked it very much. The younger Ishmail was pretty cute.