I'm not sure how Frozen River made it into my movie queue and was half expecting it to be about illegal aliens entering the US through Mexico. Instead, the story was about two working-class women in upstate New York who join forces to make extra money transporting people across the Canadian border.
Ray Eddy isn't your normal female lead. She's led a tough life; it shows on her face. She's unnecessarily hard on her teenage son and doesn't come through for her youngest child on Christmas Day ... but according to the NY Times (who says it best), Ray is a noble character because she doesn't give up and she doesn't pity herself. I have to agree.
Ray is a strong woman who in spite of her difficulties ultimately does what's right. We realize that fact when she goes back on the ice to get the Pakistani couple's duffle bag and when she comes through for Lila Littlewolf in the end. Frozen River is about the reality of a depressed geographic area with a universal message about motherhood but mostly it's about the unlikely friendship that develops between two women. For more information, read the NY Times review and an interview with the director Courtney Hunt found here.