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The story begins with a school bus accident that affects everyone in the small town of Sam Dent.  And everyone becomes obsessed with trying to answer one of life's most agonizing questions: when the worst things happen, who do you blame?  Director Atom Egoyan takes the novel by Russell Banks, and recreates it in a more poetic way.  In fact, the movie was about tenfold times better than the book.  The movie is simply riveting, the acting superb, and Egoyan received an Oscar nomination.  It won 3 Cannes film festival awards, and also swept the Canadian awards (it was made in Canada).

Mitchell Stevens is a lawyer.  A good one.  He thinks others want someone to blame so that it will give them peace.  He's still looking to find someone to blame for the problems in his life.

Nichole was a talented singer (a cheerleader in the novel).  After the bus accident, she can't be the normal teenager she was before.  Too bad she never was.

Billy Ansel's wife passed away years ago.  Now after the accident, he's been left completely alone.  He was the only eyewitness to the accident, the only one to watch his kids die.

Dolores Driscoll drove the bus that morning.  The whole town wants to blame her.  But she says she did her best. 

This movie was the "Fargo" for 1997.  It even has the same landscapes and almost same music.  A riveting movie for anyone who wants to think.  But almost hard to watch for parents.  The best movie of 1997.

Ian Holm plays Mitchell Stevens

Sarah Polley plays Nichole

Visit the official site for The Sweet Hereafter here. (Includes the screenplay)
Download the trailer for the movie here
.  (needs Quicktime)
Read Roger Ebert's review here
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Director Atom Egoyan