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The Sweet Hereafter (1997) Poster

Trivia

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As indicated on Writer and Director Atom Egoyan's commentary track on the DVD, many people ask about the odd mask worn by the notetaker during the deposition scene. This is a stenographer's mask, an item which is used in real-life for the stenographer to record his or her own voice during the deposition.
Author Russell Banks went on record saying that he thought the film was an improvement over his novel.
Premiere Magazine voted this movie as one of "The 25 Most Dangerous Movies". (In the description for the list, the magazine stated, "These are movies about which you could say, 'That's not entertainment'. They're not 'rides' nor 'diversions'. They are galvanizing experiences that place squarely in your face all the stuff Hollywood usually presumes you go to the movies to get away from. Films that rearrange your head, that challenge your bedrock ideas about life and love and the big sleep. Consciousness-expanders, in other words, but rarely in a pleasant way. Thank God for them.")
Was inspired by the 1989 school bus crash in Alton, Texas.
Atom Egoyan was inspired to do this movie by a novel his wife Arsinée Khanjian gave him as a Christmas gift.
Polley's character, Nicole, was an aspiring singer before the accident, and is seen on stage at various points in the film performing The Tragically Hip's "Courage (for Hugh MacLennan)" and Jane Siberry's "One More Colour". The Tragically Hip's original version of "Courage" also appears in the film. It was Polley's idea to rework "Courage" for the closing credits, a version she personally sang.
Donald Sutherland was originally cast as Mitchell Stephens, but had to back out, and was replaced by Sir Ian Holm at the last minute.
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Caerthan Banks is the daughter of Russell Banks, who wrote the source novel.
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Paul Gross auditioned for the role of Billy Ansel, but was passed over because of his looks. Atom Egoyan said in October 13, 1997 issue of the Canadian magazine Maclean's, "Paul is a very fine actor, and I was really close to casting him. The problem is that he is really good-looking. Paul is very pretty, Bruce looked rougher."
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When Nicole reads Robert Browning's poem to the children, the book, from which she is reading, features illustrations by Kate Greenaway that date from 1888.
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Was #2 on Roger Ebert 's list of the "Best Films of 1997".
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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Was #7 on Gene Siskel 's list of the "Best Films of 1997".
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Film debut of Caerthan Banks.
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Sir Ian Holm and Maury Chaykin appeared in A Life Less Ordinary (1997).
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Cameo 

Russell Banks: The author of the source novel makes a cameo as the doctor ("The mind is kind") in the hospital scene with Sarah Polley.
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