1998; Rated R; 108 Minutes
Drama (US); 1997; Rated R; 113 Minutes
Kevin Kline: Ben Hood
Joan Allen: Elena Hood
Tobey Maguire: Paul Hood
Christina Ricci: Wendy Hood
Jamey Sheridan: Jim Carver
Sigourney Weaver: Janey Carver
Elijah Wood: Mikey Carver
Adam Hann-Byrd: Sandy Carver
Produced by Alysse
Bezahler, Anthony Bregman, Teo Hope, Ang Lee and James Schamus;
Directed by Ang Lee; Screenwritten by James
by DAVID KEYES
Manson constructs his music on real issues. His most recent
album is a portrait on his belief that we, as the human
race, numb ourselves from being the humans that we should
be. It also chronicles his transformation following the
physical pain he provoked on himself with "Antichrist Superstar,"
and, as he says, 'represents the final stage of what was
set forth on that record.'
bring this observation of Manson up because I was running
it through my mind as I saw "The Ice Storm" the other day.
Ang Lee, the movie's director, interprets human life in
and outside of family bonds to be as cold as ice, and characters
of this vision cause physical and emotional pain to each
other, all while numbing themselves from the true humanity
they have in them. The movie is a sad, thought-provoking
one, where the viewer sits and wonders if the sadness gets
Ice Storm" is one of the best films I've seen. It is a picture
that relates its scenario to the characters, the themes
to the atmosphere, and the vision to the style. When watching
it, we observe the relations between nature and humanity,
as they both wreak havoc in a small little town in the dead
is an observation that can be followed thanks to the efforts
of narration by a character named Paul Hood, played by Tobey
Maguire, who relates the coldness of his family to that
of winter storm's straight from the pages of a "Fantastic
Four" comic book. He explains in the first scenes, while
trapped on a train in the middle of a frigid ice storm,
that we as families can't help but hurt one another, simply
because that's what we are made of. We are not perfect.
We are as cold as the ice of a winter storm; or at least
that's what the script tells us.
this case, we speak of two families: the Hood family, which
includes Paul, the narrator, and the other is the Carver
family, which is the source of most of the pain and aggression
inflicted upon the characters of the picture. Actually,
they are the main inflictors--I don't want to give the impression
that the members of Paul's family don't do the same.
of these characters has something uniquely disturbing about
them, and the most fascinatingly disturbing of these characters
is Wendy Hood, played by Christina Ricci, a teenager who
is extremely curious about her sexuality. Her neighbors
have two teenage boys about her age, and when she's over
at their house, sexual experiences arise between them which
all are interrupted eventually by the parents of either
adults of both families are also troubled human beings.
Kevin Kline plays Ben Hood, a man who sleeps with the neighbor's
wife, Janey Carver, played by a well-focused Sigourney Weaver.
Her character is another one of the movie's strong points,
not only because she's beautiful and vibrant, but also because
she knows exactly what to say at exactly what time. In one
scene, when she's in bed with Ben, and he's talking about
his job, she interrupts with this line: "Ben, I already
have a husband. I feel no need for another, so quit boring
script knows the lines well. It has great knowledge of when
to say them and what form to say them in. Most movies, if
you think about it, are often concentrated on plot and characters
rather than the actual dialogue, but here, the words are
an equally important part of the movie. Some phrases are
vital to our understanding of the situations, while others
are simply amusing (and sometimes true) to the nature of
is, for instance, a moment near the beginning when Ricci's
character, Wendy, is talking to her brother on the phone.
Being a blunt woman, she brings up Richard Nixon, remarking
that (after some presidential speech) "He needs to be shot."
nearly impossible to read the minds of characters in movies,
but the ones in "The Ice Storm" make it perfectly clear
to the audience of how they feel, both through dialogue
and action. Of course, there are more, complicated situations
at stake, but I feel no need to reveal all of them, because
those who haven't seen it and plan on doing so will be quite
surprised of how this script treats its characters.
let me tell you, I felt sorry for all of them. Their problems,
emotions, and painful experiences are all shared with us
right on screen, just as a gigantic ice storm hits the town.
And with this ice storm serving as the metaphorical backdrop
of the material, the movie manages to hit the right notes
at the right time.
the type of experience where you might learn from your mistakes
before you even make them.
1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.