Friday, December 15, 2006

Sigourney Weaver Plays Autistic Woman in "Snow Cake"

Discussing her latest movie "Snow Cake," Sigourney Weaver (pictured at left) tells Now Magazine in Toronto that while she plays a woman with high-functioning autism, it's not an autism movie. (See the article, published this week, here.)

"Autism is part of one of the characters, and it's just presented as a fact. It's not the subject. The subject is really connecting versus not connecting.

"In a way, I don't know how you'd sell this film. It's such an original story. The writer, Angela Pell, has a son with autism, and she said living with someone with the condition is heaven and hell. I want people to see the heaven, but I also want them to see what hell is for the person."

When the interviewer asks Weaver about the possibility that "Snow Cake" will become known as "the Sigourney Weaver 'Rainman' movie," she answers that Dustin Hoffman was brilliant in that Oscar winning movie. Then she adds: "But there was a real desire on everyone's part that there should be more depictions out there than just Rain Man."

Snow Cake is a small independent production that is slowly making its way around film festivals in New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, Edinburgh and Toronto, seeking a major distributor. That it appears most of us will have to wait until it comes out on DVD to see it signals that it won't be displacing Hoffman's 1988 performance as the popular culture archetype of a high-functioning autistic person.

Reviews of the movie, which also stars British actor Alan Rickman, have been positive. This review from the Tribeca Film Festival in New York calls Weaver's performance "astonishing. "

Snow Cake may not be a blockbuster, but the experience of portraying someone with autism made a deep impression on Sigourney Weaver. She told the BBC earlier this year at the Edinburgh Film Festival that she spent nearly a year researching autism and understands it's useless to speak in general terms about people on the autism spectrum. "It's a huge condition and there are about as many different manifestations as anything you can think of. The more I learned about it, the more I felt it was impossible to generalise," she said.

Photo courtesy of Discovery Channel, via


Anonymous said...

This movie looks interesting. But the post also re-interested me in "Rain Man" so I clicked on the link to remind myself about the plot so many years after seeing it in the theater. Part of me would like to see it again, now that I have personal experience raising a child with autism. But another part of me hesitates, because I know it will be such a different (and very likely painful) experience seeing it again from this vantage point. Anyone else seen it for a second time post-diagnosis?

Anonymous said...

We Watched it in my Support Group, i am not sure how you would react, but i can tell you , that i was VERY emotional watching this movie, while some mothers were laughing and nodding their heads, i was crying and got very upset and the thought of my 4 yr. old having to cope with this the rest of his life. he got diagnosed about a yr. ago now, and i still can barly talk about it.