Where to Watch "Frozen River"


Directed by

Courtney Hunt

Lila Sommers
Lila Sommers
· 5 min read

Who's in it?

Melissa Leo

Melissa Leo

Misty Upham

Misty Upham

Charlie McDermott

Charlie McDermott

John Canoe

Jay Klaitz

Jay Klaitz

Dylan Carusona

James Reilly

Michael O'Keefe

Michael O'Keefe

Mark Boone Junior

Mark Boone Junior

Betty Ouyang

Betty Ouyang

"Frozen River," a gripping drama released in 2008, explores the harsh realities of life on the fringes of society. Directed by Courtney Hunt, the film is a poignant exploration of the challenges faced by two women as they navigate the dangerous world of smuggling across the frozen St. Lawrence River.

Release Date and Director:

"Frozen River" was released on August 1, 2008, and was skillfully directed by Courtney Hunt.


Set against the backdrop of the freezing winter in Upstate New York, the film follows Ray Eddy (Melissa Leo), a struggling mother who finds herself in dire financial straits after her husband abandons the family.

In a desperate attempt to make ends meet, Ray teams up with a Mohawk woman named Lila Littlewolf (Misty Upham) to smuggle illegal immigrants across the icy river that serves as the border between the United States and Canada.

As the women undertake perilous journeys, risking their lives to transport people across the frozen river, they form an unlikely bond.

The film poignantly explores themes of poverty, desperation, and the lengths people will go to provide for their families. The moral and emotional complexities of their choices unfold as they confront the harsh consequences of their actions.

Significance, Themes, and Why You Should Watch:

"Frozen River" is a powerful exploration of socio-economic struggles and the resilience of the human spirit. It delves into the sacrifices individuals make when faced with limited options, shedding light on the moral ambiguity of their decisions.

The film's stark portrayal of poverty, motherhood, and the consequences of societal neglect adds depth to its narrative, making it a compelling watch for those interested in thought-provoking dramas.

Where to Stream

United States (US):

There are currently no streaming offers in the US.

  • Streaming Options: Hulu, DIRECTV
  • Buying Options: Apple TV, Amazon Video, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Vudu, Microsoft Store, DIRECTV, AMC on Demand
  • Free Options: None

Australia (AU):

There are currently no streaming offers in the AU.

  • Streaming Options: None
  • Buying Options: Apple TV, Amazon Video, Google Play Movies, YouTube
  • Free Options: None

United Kingdom (GB):

There are currently no streaming offers in the GB.

  • Streaming Options: BFI Player, BFI Player Amazon Channel
  • Buying Options: Apple TV, Amazon Video
  • Free Options: None

Brazil (BR):

There are currently no streaming offers in the BR.

  • Streaming Options: None
  • Buying Options: Amazon Video, Google Play Movies, Claro video
  • Free Options: None

France (FR):

There are currently no streaming offers in the FR.

  • Streaming Options: None
  • Buying Options: Canal VOD, Rakuten TV, LaCinetek, Universcine, Amazon Video
  • Free Options: None

Canada (CA):

There are currently no streaming offers in the CA.

  • Streaming Options: None
  • Buying Options: Apple TV, Google Play Movies, Cineplex, YouTube, Amazon Video
  • Free Options: None

Production Details:

Courtney Hunt's directorial debut was notable for its realistic portrayal of the challenges faced during production. Filming took place in the actual locations along the U.S.-Canada border, providing an authentic backdrop to the story. The harsh winter conditions presented challenges, but they added to the film's raw and gritty atmosphere.

The film was made on a modest budget, highlighting the director's ability to create a compelling narrative without extravagant resources. Despite its limited budget, "Frozen River" achieved critical acclaim for its authenticity and emotional resonance.

Reception and Awards:

Critical Reception:

"Frozen River" received widespread critical acclaim for its compelling narrative, realistic portrayal of social issues, and powerful performances. Melissa Leo's portrayal of Ray Eddy was particularly praised for its depth and authenticity.

Audience Reception:

Audiences appreciated the film's thought-provoking themes and the gripping performances of the cast. The movie's ability to connect with viewers on an emotional level contributed to its success.

Awards and Nominations:

The film garnered several prestigious awards and nominations. Melissa Leo received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, and the film itself was nominated for Best Original Screenplay.

Trivia and Fun Facts:

  • "Frozen River" was inspired by director Courtney Hunt's experiences living near the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation.
  • Melissa Leo's dedication to her role included spending time with real women involved in smuggling to understand their experiences.
  • Misty Upham's performance as Lila Littlewolf earned her critical acclaim and marked a breakthrough in her acting career.

"Frozen River" stands as a testament to the power of independent cinema, offering a gripping and authentic portrayal of societal struggles that resonate long after the credits roll.

Lila Sommers

About Lila Sommers

Lila is your media maven with a passion for the extraordinary! Spot her at the local bookstore or crafting her own stories on lazy Sunday afternoons. From indie flicks to hidden gem tracks, Lila's knack for weaving words and tunes is unmatched, making her your ultimate companion in the exciting world of media and entertainment.

Copyright © 2024 Where to Watch. All rights reserved.
Made in Brisbane