Melissa Leo gives a fierce, mother-bear performance in Frozen River, a sturdy debut feature from writer-director Courtney Hunt. Leo plays Ray Eddy, a single mother living with two sons in a frigid trailer on the New York-Quebec border. With her husband missing – as tends to happen after he visits the local Mohawk casino – Ray struggles to cover the bills with her part-time job at a dollar store. When she meets a Mohawk woman who is making easy cash smuggling illegal immigrants across the Canadian border, Ray instinctively joins in. The ghastliness of human trafficking – there is a harrowing incident involving a hidden baby – is contrasted with the gnawing needs of Ray and her sons. As such, holding Frozen River up to traditional standards of morality doesn’t work. The movie isn’t as concerned with whether or not these are “good” people as it is with the fact that poverty can lead anyone to do awful things.