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The Ice Storm

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Ice Storm

Starring: Kevin Kline, Joan Allen
Director: Ang Lee
Rated: R
RunTime: 112 Minutes
Release Date: September 1997
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Courtney Peldon, Henry Czerny, Adam Hann-Byrd, David Krumholtz, Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Jamey Sheridan, Elijah Wood, Sigourney Weaver

Review by Andrew Hicks
3½ stars out of 4

Christina Ricci saying, "I'll show you mine if you show me yours," _that's_ what more arthouse movies need. THE ICE STORM, adapted from the novel by Rick Moody, is a powerful Ang Lee film that explores the world of empty bitterness and loneliness of two Connecticut families during the sexual revolution of the '70s. As we all know, the American colonial war wasn't the only revolution with a "shot heard 'round the world." I don't know what that last sentence was supposed to mean exactly; just chalk it up to one more vague sexual innuendo from the mouth of Andrew.

Kevin Kline, Mr. Name Above the Title, plays an average husband. He's got a wife (Joan Allen), two kids and a lot of tacky, big-collared shirts. It's the kind of family that ships the teenage son off to boarding school, leaves the teenage daughter at home and heads off to some lame party every night, parties where they speculate about those wild California "key" parties. That's when the men put their car keys in a bowl and the women fish out a random set of keys at the end of the night to see which guy they're going home with. It beats the hell out of mistletoe, I'll tell you that.

Kline also happens to be having an affair with the neighbor, Sigourney "Zuul" Weaver. But look out, tables are turning, Allen eventually gets it on with the husband in his car ("Do these seats go back?") and Weaver's son (Elijah Wood) is messing around with Kline's daughter (Ricci), the kind of plot twist you'd find in an X-rated episode of "The Brady Bunch." At the same time, Ricci is drawn to Wood's younger brother, a weird kid who spends his time blowing up his model airplanes and hanging his Army dolls.

Meanwhile, there's Kline's son, the only person who manages to pursue anyone outside the neighbor's family. Home from boarding school for Thanksgiving weekend, he arranges a train trip into New York to see a girl from his school. For once, he's trying to get to a woman before his best friend does, until he shows up at the house and finds the friend already there. This storyline was my personal favorite of the movie, as someone who's had that special "brother" relationship with a lot of girls I've had crushes on.

THE ICE STORM takes its precious time to get started, but once it does, it turns into one hell of a ride. Its circular, orchestrated plot and existential dialogue keep it from being anything raunchy or low-brow. In a movie where people of all ages search for meaning in sex, drugs and alcohol, nothing is glorified or exaggerated. That is the beauty of THE ICE STORM and, having seen it, I can now say with all honesty, "I'll show you mine if you show me yours."

Copyright 1997 Andrew Hicks

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