This was one of 1997’s best films. A small town is beset by tragedy as a school bus, full of children, crashes down a steep embankment and through the ice of a frozen river. The bus accident sets off the events of this film. A lawyer (played extremely well by Ian Holm) comes to town in search of a class action lawsuit. A girl who was sick the day of the crash copes with her survivors’ guilt. An incestuous relationship is revealed and dealt with. The film weaves these stories, and more, into a cohesive dream-catcher that holds the lives changed by the crash. This film really deserved to win an Oscar last year (either screenplay, director, or actor) and was unjustly overlooked.
The Sweet Hereafter****
published September 4, 2000