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The Ice Storm

Released: 1997

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 1 hr 52 min

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Ang Lee

Starring: Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Janey Carver, Henry Czerny, Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, Adam Hann-Byrd

In the era of "key parties," two suburban families experiment with sex over a long Thanksgiving weekend. Sigourney Weaver, Christina Ricci and Elijah Wood deliver shattering performances.

Casts a spell that few other films can match.

Review by: MiamiMovieCritic

Added: 8 years ago

What makes Ang Lee special is his absolute mastery of tone. I think this is especially true of The Ice Storm, but the same could be said for Brokeback Mountain, Ride with the Devil and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

The scenes where Christina Ricci is watching the Watergate hearings are key. Nixon and his cronies represented the old conservative vanguard, and the characters (however clumsy they are in their romantic fumblings) represent the liberated new one. That's what the 1970s were all about – the liberation of the '60s moving into the mainstream and into the white suburbs.

Elijah Wood's character is my favorite in the film. Lee makes it clear early on – in the scene where he spaces out during a football game – that this character has lost touch with reality. And, in the end, reality comes to claim its price.

It's significant that the film doesn't end on Kevin Kline, but on Tobey Maguire, who's completely bewildered by why his dad should be crying in this way. The scene – and much of the rest of the movie – is about the wide gap that exists between parents and their children. And their inability to understand each other is a tragedy (in the case of Elijah Wood, a fatal one).

Mostly I love this film because of the tone, aided significantly by the Native American music used throughout. Something seismic is happening in the America that Lee depicts, and he visualizes it beautifully in the storm at the end. I can't wait to watch this film again. It casts a spell that few other films can match.