Review: The Ice Storm (1997)

Updated June 26, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
Director:Ang Lee
Writer:James Schamus
Director of Photography:Frederick Elmes
Editor:Tim Squyres
Music:Mychael Danna
Production Designer:Mark Friedberg
Producer:Ted Hope, Ang Lee and James Schamus
Fox Searchlight; R; 113 minutes
Cast:Kevin Kline, Courtney Peldon, Joan Allen, Henry Czerny, Adam Hann-Byrd, David Krumholtz, Tobey Magurire, Christina Ricci, Jamey Sheridan, Elijah Wood, Sigourney Weaver, Katie Holmes and Michael Cumpsty
Based on a novel by Rick Moody

It's the weekend after Thanksgiving 1973 in tony New Canaan, Connecticut, and more than just an ice storm's a-brewing. Benjamin Hood (Kline) reels from drink to drink when he's not water-bedding his next-door-neighbor (a brilliantly brittle Weaver). His wife (Allen) immerses herself in self-help books but is quickly losing her grip over her husband's lies. Their son (Maguire), home for the holidays, moons over a Noxzema-fresh cutie from his prep school. Meanwhile, their darling pubescent daughter gropes the neighborhood boys and plunders liquor cabinets, in a desperate attempt to cope. When the wind starts to whistle the night of a spouse-swapping key party, tragedy can't be far behind. Ang triumphs in re-creating the awkward suburban angst of the early '70s, delving deeper than just dressing the film in gargantuan collars, polyester slacks suits and rainbow toe-socks (though these touches nail the look of the era). The performances are top-notch, the visuals crystalline. One of year's stand-out releases, The Ice Storm exposes the characters' appropriately slippery hold on the times and each other.

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