Written by: Adam Vaughn | July 28th, 2022
It Snows All the Time (Jay Giannone, 2022) 2 out of 4 stars.
One of the major elements that initially drew me to Jay Giannone’s It Snows All the Time was being able to witness a fully formed narrative addressing the heartbreaking stresses of living with a person with dementia and the toll it takes on the entire family. Giannone (Scalpers) clearly has a personal and emotional tie to his source material as he explores the story of Paul (Brett Cullen, Joker) slowly declining in health. As his three sons, Jesse, Tony, and Art (Erich Hover, Jay Giannone, and Sterling Knight) return home to visit, they soon find how severe Paul’s deterioration is, and the heavy burden that their mother Anne (Lesley Ann Warren, 3 Days with Dad) has been handling virtually on her own.
It Snows All the Time is at its strongest when it fully addresses and embraces its theme and source content, choosing some deeply impactful moments of a family witnessing true and authentic moments of dementia. Cullen’s performance perfectly depicts a dad suffering from the disease. Knowing that the film is based on true events that had an effect on Giannone also gives certain sequences a powerful feel, and the sincerity and dedication to the material is clearly present, driving the narrative up until a heartwarming and hopeful ending.
While the film may be able to utilize its overall story and premise to its full extent, It Snows All the Time suffers in production value and direction, appearing rushed or having complications that bleed into the final cut of the film. The sound design throughout is extremely weak and distracts from dialogue, which is adequate but extremely generic. There are some cinematography issues, as well, that make the film seem unfinished. While Cullen and Warren stand out, the overall performances do not always ring authentic. What’s worse is that director Giannone adds subplots (Jesse’s dating issues, Tony and his wife’s complications, etc.) that do not add much to the story and simply distract from the main message.
I admire and love that It Snows All the Time is bold enough to tackle such an intimate and complex topic and I do believe that with a bit of fine-tuning, the film has the potential to touch the viewer’s heart. However, as impactful as its content may be, It Snows All the Time, as work of art, simply struggles with technical and narrative conventions that keep it from its full potential. This is only Jay Giannone’s second feature, so there’s no shame in looking for ways to improve, and I look forward to seeing better, yet equally inspired, feature films come from him in the future.