The Ice Storm

12  DEC
It was 1973, and the climate was changing.

Directed by  Ang Lee
Written by  Rick Moody, James Schamus
Starring:  Kevin Kline (Ben Hood)
Joan Allen (Elena Hood)
Tobey Maguire (Paul Hood)
Christina Ricci (Wendy Hood)
Elijah Wood (Mikey Carver)
Sigourney Weaver (Janey Carver)
Runtime: 113 minutes
In the weekend after thanksgiving 1973 the Hoods are skidding out of control. Benjamin Hood reels from drink to drink, trying not to think about his trouble at the office. His wife, Elena, is reading self help books and losing patience with her husband's lies. Their son, Paul, home for the holidays, escapes to the city to pursue an alluring rich girl from his prep school. And young, budding nymphomaniac, Wendy Hood roams the neighborhood, innocently exploring liquor cabinets and lingerie drawers of her friends' parents, looking for something new. Then an ice storm hits, the worst in a century. Things get bad... - Emory Herbertson

It's hard to believe that I didn't fully appreciate a movie with a sad ending but I can hardly describe The Ice Storm as a good movie... it isn't a bad movie either, it's just one of the many 'standard' movie with the novelty of an interesting (but not unexpected) finale.

The story is fairly common, it deals with marriage infidelity, relationship between parents and children, teenegers exploring sex, love and drugs. In an attempt to give a deeper social relavance to this otherwise unoriginal story, the writers set it in 1973 so the whole movie can be probably seen as a criticism to the society of that times. Unfortunately this doesn't make it more interesting from my point of view (since I have no memories nor deep knowledge of the America of the '70s!) and, instead, the many references to the temporal setting results fairly annoying in the end.

There are many funny scenes throughout the movie regardless of the dramatic story, this could be seen as a positive point that relaxes the tension of the audience but I found that this only distracted me from the more serious parts that seemed to be underdeveloped, especially on the emotional side. Even the dramatic ending didn't help much, it is not out of place but it isn't also enough to redeem a fairly boring movie.

Somehow, The Ice Storm reminds me of the last movie I've been before this one, The Sweet Hereafter. Both movies fail to convey enough emotions (but for different reasons), both narrations are non-linear (although here we simply have a long flashback) and the setting is fairly similar (a cold winter in a small town). Finally, while in the previous one we had a very strong metaphorical interpretation of the voiceover reading "The Pied Piper of Hamlin", here we simply have a somewhat silly comparison between the family and "The Fantastic Four" comic!

Rating: 6.8  ***

Links:  Official Site




© Copyright Sergio Monesi, 1997-1999.
Last updated: 25 Jun 1999