Frozen River (2008) is an American drama film written and directed by Courtney Hunt. The major theme of the film is illegal immigration. The film revolves around two single mothers who are working hard to afford for their children; one is a native Mohawk American (Lila) and the other is a white American (Ray). The two women though appear to be different, have much in common which unifies them till the end. They found hard times to get along in the beginning, but later they become business partners and friends. They share adventurous experiences transporting illegal emigrants in a car from Canada crossing borders through a frozen river to America. A frozen river, that would become a frontier when water melts!
Lila encourages Ray to take more emigrants reminding her that she is “white.” There are two types of emigrants: Pakistani and Chinese. Why exactly these two races? Why not Mexicans? There is a yellow threat: China and a green threat: Muslims. Apparently there is an ideological threat into the country especially that the Pakistani (in the films) are a couple with a child, this connotes a new Pakistani-Muslim generation is coming to America (ironically through Americans themselves). Non of the groups, however, speak any language at all.
The two American women are more concerned with survivor than being loyal to their country. In the end, however, they were caught by the police. One of the important scenes in the film is while the two women were transporting the Pakistani couple. Doubting that they are terrorists, Ray throws their bag thinking that it contains bombs, later she discovers that it is the couple’s baby inside, and they go back hoping to save the baby. She was fooled by the mass and stereotypes, for her all aliens become suspects. The film tells us about the fear of the enemy within that dominates the American Culture and tries to implicitly criticize it.
The film was nominated to an Oscar and Gary Wolcott who entitles his article as “’Frozen River’ a big movie with a small budget” states that “Hunt proves you don’t need a big budget, or a big star to create a masterpiece.” Indeed, the film is a great success although it has not a well-known star: Melissa Leo as Ray, besides it is the first experience of Courtney Hunt, which explains to some extent the reason why the film is not really known.