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The Ice Storm

The Ice Storm is a 1997 drama film directed by Ang Lee, based on the 1994 novel of the same name by Rick Moody. The film features an ensemble cast of Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, and Sigourney Weaver. Set during Thanksgiving 1973, The Ice Storm is about two dysfunctional New Canaan, Connecticut families who are trying to deal with tumultuous political and social changes of the early 1970s, and their escapism through alcohol, adultery, and sexual experimentation. Upon the film's opening in the United States on October 31, 1997, its release was limited and grossed a mere $8 million on a budget of $18 million, making it a box office flop. The film has subsequently become a celebrated success due to a later video release in 1998 and to DVD in 2000. A new special two-disc DVD set was also released as a part of the Criterion Collection on March 18, 2008. The film begins at a dinner party at the Carvers' house as the adults discuss pop culture references that defined the 1970s: the Watergate scandal, swinging parties for married couples, and the pornographic film Deep Throat. The Hood family includes Ben (Kevin Kline), Elena (Joan Allen) and their

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Genre: Drama

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  • (Male) Deseret News Critic

    No Maturity Rating | Worth Your Time

    "The Ice Storm," based on Rick Moody's infamous novel about the "swinging" '70s, actually deals with the fallout from the excessive lifestyles of many families, from the parents down to the children. In his faithful and intelligent adaptation of the book, director Ang Lee ("Sense and Sensibility," "Eat Drink Man Woman") follows the Hoods, a Connecticut family, circa 1973, as their obsessions force them to slowly skid out of control and onto thin ice. There's also a metaphorical iciness between family members that's much colder than the freak winter storm that gives the film its name. Patriarch Ben Hood (Kevin Kline), frustrated at work and at home, is busy carrying on an affair with his neighbor, Janey Carver (Sigourney Weaver). But his wife Elena (Joan Allen) is just as irritated by Ben's uncommunicative nature and isn't nearly as clueless as he thinks. Meanwhile, their teenage children Wendy (Christina Ricci) and Paul (Tobey Maguire) are experimenting with drugs — and in her case, sex, with neighbor Mikey Carver (Elijah Wood) and his painfully shy brother, Sandy (Adam Hann-Byrd). Things come to a head, tragically, following the family's Thanksgiving dinner. While Ben and Elena obliviously head off to a "key party," where couples are supposed to "swap" partners, Wendy and Mikey explore the deadly ice storm bombarding the coastline. Oddly enough, the Taiwanese-born Lee manages to capture the look and sound of the '70s better (at least more accurately) than Paul Thomas Anderson did in "Boogie Nights." He also films things in a creepy, detached and chilly manner that effectively conveys the feel of the Hood family's at-arms-length relationships, and makes the shocking ending that much more emotional. And it certainly doesn't hurt that there's an Oscar-caliber screenplay (by longtime Lee collaborator James Schamus) and excellent ensemble cast (Kline, Weaver and Ricci are superb, as is the always-solid Allen).


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Okfor ages12+