Essay about Courtney Hunt 's Film Frozen River

Essay about Courtney Hunt 's Film Frozen River

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Courtney Hunt’s film Frozen River reveals the economic struggles that two single mothers face. Both these women live in upstate New York near Quebec. Lila Littlewolf a young single Native-American mother lives in the Mohawk reservation between the Canadian and American border. Although it is difficult for her to distinguish between the two borders, this also presents an enticing opportunity to become involved in the business of human trafficking. Ray Eddy an older white single mother finds herself coincidentally crossing paths with Lila while searching for her lost car. The poverty-stricken lifestyle and unfortunate circumstances both mothers endure causes them to take a chance as human traffickers. Lila and Ray are intrigued by the illicit, yet lucrative labor they undertake. The film concludes with Lila and Ray using the earnings from their unlawful work to overcome their own financial difficulties and ultimately improve their own lives. The projection of Lila and Ray’s poverty in the film allows us to empathize and see human trafficking not so much as an illicit, criminal act but rather a desperate means to an end in the face poverty and lack of resources for the protagonist. The film presents two conflicting social issues of poverty and human trafficking, while neglecting the victims that suffer throughout the film, thus downplaying the severity of the issue.
The film 's strong emphasis on the poverty that Ray is living under allows the viewer understand and sympathize with her struggles. The film first presents Ray’s home as an unstable household. Ray faces deception as her savings are stolen by her gambling addict husband. Those savings were going towards buying a new, insulated trailer. To cope with her loss, Ray chain smo...


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...d Lila are caught. Although Ray is turned in and will not get to spend time with her sons the punishment she receives is inadequate to the loss of two Chinese girls. Ray will only have to serve a couple of months in jail and return freely to her family.

The film Frozen River presents the benefits that Lila and Ray attain from human trafficking and degrades the suffering of the victims involved in human smuggling. Lila and Ray view human smuggling as necessary to their survival. It becomes difficult to side with the victims because there is a deep concern for the poverty that Lila and Ray are caught up in. These social issues presented in the film conflict with the issue of human trafficking that are neglected throughout the film. The circumstances that Lila and Ray face show us human trafficking benefits them overall and reduces the burden of being single mothers.

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