While not a terrible movie it has a few serious problems. The problems start with the casting. Edward Furlong is cast to play the 16 year old son of parents played by Meryl Streep and Liam Neeson, but at age 16 he appears to be roughly five inches shorter than Streep and is utterly dwarfed by Neeson. Furlong looks more like he was their 12 year old son than their 16 year old son.
Next problem is that certain points you need to catch at the beginning of the film simply slip by far to fast to catch. In a murder mystery or something with major plot twists that might be tolerable, but not in your ordinary family drama.
But to me the most troubling problem (and if you are determined to see the movie regardless you might not want to read on, because this will give away most of the movie) is that it simply does not make sense.
The story is Furlong has pulled off the road with his girlfriend and parked in the snow, gets stuck, they argue and tussle with each other, with him pushing her and accidentally causing her to fall face-first on the car jack. He then flees. She's found, rushed to the hospital and dies. The movie then deals with the family struggle of how to deal with this in court. Getting the kids' story out takes at least half the movie and by the time it gets out things are moving fast and little things, like making sense, get lost in the wake. If Furlong and the girlfriend TOGETHER had been absolutely unable to get the car out of the snow, and the deep rut he had made in it, it makes no sense that after she is spread out on the ground and unable to help he then gets the the car out by himself -- that is the kind of inconsistency any prosecuting attorney would have latched onto, and which any defense attorney would have seen as a major problem in court (I make these comments as a criminal defense attorney).
But that's not the only problem with the kid's story. It was supposedly an accident. He cared about her. He never wanted to hurt her. And yet after she is hurt he cleans up the scene, gets that stuck car out of there, leaves, she is found and is STILL ALIVE long enough for an ambulance to reach her, get her to an emergency room and have a serious effort to save her life before she dies on the table in the ER. The entire issue of her having BEEN ALIVE and left to die is ignored. Not mentioned once by him, his family, the girl's grieving mother, his defense attorney, the prosecution or the judge who heard the case. It is as if the director forgot that in the second scene in the movie we see Meryly Streep, a doctor in the film, called to the ER to help with efforts to save the girl, long before we know her son was involved in the girl's death. The scene leaves no doubt (I went back and watched it a second time to be sure because the inconsistency seemed so glaring) that the girl was still alive when she reached the ER.
But she was left to die by the kid for whom we are supposed to feel sympathy.
Not only are there problems with the issue not having been properly addressed by any of the characters who would have addressed it, the fact that we need to feel sympathy for the kid is a problem. Easy to feel sympathy for him in having his life thrown into chaos as a result of an accident.... hard to feel sympathy when he would have had to have left his girlfriend there to die, and when in cleaning up the scene he would have had to have had enough contact with her (she fell on the car jack, and he removed the jack and put it back in the trunk of the car) that he certainly should have noticed she was still alive.
Despite strong performances from the actors and good cinematography, the movie was a bit disappointing because of direction, casting and the script.