Metascore
44

Mixed or average reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 31
  2. Negative: 8 out of 31
  1. Scott Hicks adapts David Guterson's best-selling novel as if it was poetry.
  2. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    88
    The kind of richly layered film that Hollywood seldom attempts, much less brings off. But it's more than brought off here in grand, solid style and beautifully crafted detail.
  3. 88
    Uusually satisfying in the way it unfolds.
  4. Reflective, deliberate, building gradually to a climax that left me touched.
  5. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    70
    Flawed, but fascinating, this somber adaptation of David Guterson's award-winning novel is sometimes sluggish and difficult to follow, but it's also unexpectedly poetic.
  6. As good as it is in many ways, the film is not as emotionally gripping as it should be, and comes off as a rather predictable liberal statement.
  7. Fails to completely engage the viewer at the basic level of story.
  8. 62
    Hicks is far less interested in resolving dramatic conflicts than in framing shots.
  9. As cosmetically sanitized revisions of history go: This is as good as it gets.
  10. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    50
    Essentially a liberal soap opera.
  11. Too chilly and distanced to build the emotional impact it would like to have.
  12. Compelling almost in spite of itself, thanks to the impressionistic imagery of cinematographer Robert Richardson.
  13. Exceedingly blurred rendering of a simply told, artful novel.
  14. A prettily photographed yet morbidly gloomy movie.
  15. Ultimately there's something too measured, too controlled in his film.
  16. Reviewed by: Robert Horton
    50
    Not a crowd-pleasing, or even audience-oriented, movie; it's a two-hour-plus mood piece.
  17. Has to fight to hold our attention and it doesn't always succeed.
  18. 50
    For all the beauty it struggles to bring forth, Snow Falling on Cedars is painfully prosaic.
  19. Movies made from serious novels are often ridiculed as unworthy of their sources, but this one may be too worthy -- too reverent, too showy, too earnest.
  20. 40
    This badly muddled adaptation of a complex novel chases after Guterson's many skeins and themes with no unifying principle in mind.
  21. Reviewed by: Sean Means
    40
    You just watch one carefully constructed but emotionally vacant image piled up on another - sometimes with regard to an overall effect, but often just for the sake of style over substance.
  22. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    40
    Impeccably crafted but dramatically dull.
  23. Never transports you to another place and time, as it intends to.
  24. 38
    The year's most beautiful movie -- and surely one of the dullest.
  25. 30
    The narrative chronology is so heavily hacked about, its tenses so addled and the material so thinly spread across so many characters, one can scarcely keep it straight in one's head without going cross-eyed.
  26. Loaded with facile social themes, opaque characters, pointlessly intricate flashbacks, and inflated technique.
  27. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    30
    All shots and no scenes, which is nice for a picture book but deadly for drama.
  28. Admirably high-minded and visually gorgeous but fatally anesthetized by its own grandiosity.
  29. 30
    Trying to act in this movie is like trying to stand upright in a blizzard.
  30. 25
    Looks exquisite, but don't bother digging deeper.
  31. 25
    Ultimately groans under the weight of its own quiet gorgeousness.
User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. LunaM.
    Apr 9, 2008
    4
    The scattered fragments of the story are overwhelmed by the film's weighty, somber, pretentious cinematography and score. Visually The scattered fragments of the story are overwhelmed by the film's weighty, somber, pretentious cinematography and score. Visually poetic and lovingly photographed. But one ponderously slow scene follows another. Snippets of same are then repeated through flashbacks. Over-use of crying babies to dramatize bad news. Plenty of passion and talent were behind the making of this movie, but for me it was too self-conscious, gloomy and (watch as the rain drips drips drips) SLOW. Full Review »
  2. SusanF.
    Mar 21, 2006
    10
    Mesmerizing film- beautifully done - provacative and above all heart wrenching movie.