Combustible Celluloid
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With: Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Henry Czerny, Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, Adam Hann-Byrd, David Krumholtz, Jamey Sheridan, Kate Burton, William Cain, Michael Cumpsty, Maia Danziger, Katie Holmes, Allison Janney
Written by: James Schamus, based on a novel by Rick Moody
Directed by: Ang Lee
MPAA Rating: R for sexuality and drug use, including scenes involving children, and for language
Running Time: 112
Date: 09/26/1997

The Ice Storm (1997)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The Taiwan-born, but decidedly international, filmmaker Ang Lee has made films about mismatched partners, tortured souls, and characters displaced within their environments, searching for solace. In The Ice Storm (1997), these elements come together in one film, possibly his best. Based on the novel by Rick Moody and set in 1973, in an era when husbands and wives were playing at "key parties," a typically cracked family assembles for Thanksgiving. The father (Kevin Kline) is having an affair, the mother (Joan Allen) is having a spiritual crisis, the 14 year-old daughter (Christina Ricci) likes to play sexual games, and 16 year-old son (Tobey Maguire) is sexually inexperienced but obsessed with a pretty girl (Katie Holmes) at his school. Lee provides succinct dialogue readings and scenes that sum up great waves of emotions and conflict. Most striking is the ice storm of the title, wherein one of the characters finds himself in awe of, and at odds with, the beautiful, bitter landscape. Sigourney Weaver is magnificent as a woman of many affairs.

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