Snowmen is a family film that takes you to unexpected places. It starts out as standard kid comedy fare a la Diary of a Wimpy Kid or How to Eat Fried Worms, but then unexpectedly snowballs into a poignant drama with weightier themes of life and death.
It's also offbeat. The first five minutes alone include one of the grossest snot gags I've ever seen, followed by the discovery of a dead man in a front yard snow bank. Then the film's10-year-old narrator/protagonist Billy Kirkfield (Bobby Coleman) reveals to us that he will die before everything's over with.
That all seems a bit much for younger viewers, but this really is a film parents can enjoy with children ages 8 and up. Rather than being a dark drama preoccupied with death, Snowmen is primarily a charming comedy that affirms life through Billy's desire to find purpose and meaning.
We learn early on through a clever reveal that Billy has cancer; shy about his baldness from chemotherapy, he always wears his wool beanie, even indoors. When Billy finds an old man frozen in his front yard, he starts to confront his own mortality, questioning how he'll be remembered in his hometown of Silver Lake, Colorado. With the help of his friends—wimpy Lucas (Christian Martyn) and Jamaican transplant Howard (Bobb'E J. Thompson)—Billy becomes determined to leave an unforgettable legacy0.
What can a 10-year-old do to be remembered? Brainstorming for a high-profile act, Billy discovers the Guinness Book of World Records and says, "If I could get my name in this book, I'd never be forgotten!" He comes up with some crazy stunts suited to Silver Lake's snowy landscape, but his initial ideas don't work out. But then he comes up with something that galvanizes friends and classmates into ...1