I really didn't know what to expect from The
Ice Storm. What I got
was a quirky, strange, and somehow satisfying look into the self-destruction
of two families in 1973 Connecticut.
Ice Storm (1989)
Starring: Kevin Kline, Elijah Wood, and
The Hoods are coming apart as the result of Ben Hood's (Kevin Kline) drinking
and adultery. Elena Hood (Joan Allen) seeks solace in the simple adrenaline
rushes that riding a bicycle and shoplifting can provide. Their daughter, Wendy
(Christina Ricci), is becoming increasingly sexually active, no matter the
possible consequences. Their son, Paul (Tobey Mcguire), who goes to a private
high school, is scheming a way to get a date with a girl named Libbets Casey
(Katie Holmes) before his best friend has sex with her.
The Carvers, who live next door
to the Hoods, are also having trouble relating to one another. Jim Carver
(Jamey Sheridan) is a detached father figure. When
he returns from a trip, his oldest son, Mikey (Elijah Wood), asks, "You
were gone?" Mikey is also detached, but is pursuing his sexual interests
with Wendy Hood. Mikey's younger brother, Sandy (Adam Hann-Byrd), idolizes
Wendy and also likes to blow stuff up with M80's. Janey Carver (Sigourney Weaver)
seems to put up with all of it because she has to rationalize her affair with
The film climaxes as a giant ice storm slowly freezes the neighborhood, trapping
most of the major characters inside, forcing them to deal with the questions
at hand and the results of their actions.
There's an atmosphere of gloom that
seems to wash over this film. Although the film takes place around Thanksgiving,
there is no sense of a holiday or
anyone giving thanks for anything. In fact, as Wendy says grace at the dinner
table, she says, "Thanks for letting us white people kill all the Indians." Everyone
seems to be disgusted with what they have or, at least, unsatisfied.
But, yet, the movie is not depressing in the least. In fact, it's quite funny
in places. Some of the casual observations about the 1970's are dead on. Having
grown-up in the mid-1970's, many scenes brought back vivid memories of my own
The performances are all finely crafted. Kevin Kline, Christina Ricci and
Elijah Wood's being the standouts. Sigourney Weaver's character, however, doesn't
seem as defined as the rest. James Schamus' screenplay contains some great
dialogue and Ang Lee's direction is subtle, but effective.
Although the characters all seemed unhappy in their roles in life, I quite
enjoyed my role as a witness to it all. Highly recommended.
Allen can also be seen in Face/Off. (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)