The intimate Snow Cake combines childlike wonder with matters of life and death, to surprising effect. A taciturn Englishman recently freed from prison, Alex (Alan Rickman) is driving through Ontario when he begrudgingly picks up the vivacious 19-year-old hitchhiker Vivienne (Emily Hampshire). After Vivienne dies in a terrible car accident from which he walks away unscathed, the remorseful Alex goes to the frozen backwater of Wawa, Ontario, to apologize to the girl's mother Linda (Sigourney Weaver), an alluringly attractive autistic woman. After listening with both rapture and fear to the rapid-fire proclamations of Linda, he decides to stay on to help with Vivienne's funeral. In Wawa, he develops a relationship with local sophisticate Maggie (Carrie-Anne Moss) and evades the suspicious stares of the town's one cop (James Allodi). As Alex, who lost his own son in a similarly tragic way, moves towards a reconciliation with his past, he discovers the unique world Vivienne and her mother created together-one filled with iridescent paper snowflakes, twinkling lights, backyard trampoline antics, and giddy games of Scrabble. The film ultimately thrives on contrasts: Alex's reserved stillness versus Linda's uninhibited movement; the austere cleanliness of Linda's house versus the snow she likes to eat from her sunny yard; and the survival of her unusual lifestyle amid the town's more conventional citizenry. The warm, expansive soundtrack by Canadian indie-pop royalty Broken Social Scene balances the potential loneliness of Wawa's icy environs. In the hands of director Marc Evans, reality's cold crunch becomes an enchanted dream, singing with possibility.