Synopsis by Karl Williams
Julia Ormond stars as Copenhagen resident Smilla Jasperson, a reclusive, half-Inuit scientist who befriends a neglected Inuit boy who lives in her building. Arriving home from work one day, Smilla is mortified to learn that the boy has died in a fall from the building's roof. Suspicious because she knows that her young friend was afraid of heights, Smilla probes into the "accident." Her only ally is an enigmatic man known as the Mechanic (Gabriel Byrne), who also lives in the building and seems sympathetic. Smilla discovers that the boy's family is connected to a mining company conducting top-secret research in her ancestral home of Greenland. Then she spies the Mechanic and the company's president (Richard Harris) dining together. Is she a paranoid conspiracy theorist or a sleuth uncovering a bizarre murder mystery? When a retired secretary (Vanessa Redgrave) helps her make a critical discovery, Smilla sets off for Greenland, where the otherworldly, prehistoric answer to her questions awaits. Danish director Bille August's previous film Pelle the Conqueror (1987) also concerned the bond between an adult Denmark émigré and a child.
alcoholism, child, culture-clash, death, doctor/nurse, friendship, investigation, killing, mathematics, mother, murder