The Ice Storm Reviews
When we see somethings come to an end and other things we see but dont see begin. When we see somethings when there is much more to them when we see them deep down and whats on the surface. When other things we dont see we see another side. When we see all sides to people in closed doors when there is alot to see in us when we are literaries, political, liberal and emotional. When we need a closer look to what we see before we judge or already know when we need to see the truth in which side we choose. When we need to see eachother on occasion to see what see whats new with eachother. When somethings we dont need to hear when we clearly see when behind closed doors we reveal our true intentions for others to see and others not to see when its plain mischief or our feelings. When other things we dont see we hear goes on when we see the times are full of different sides people explore. When what we dont see early on we see later when somethings grown in us to see another side of us come out. When others dont wish to see some sides come out when we are full of different sides that not many people would like seeing. When our daily life is filled with what we see too often or others need to see occupy their time exploring different sides is easy to come then others. When somethings we see we know is coming when its coming of age stuff kids go through or adults who are bored in need of excitement. When we need to see our own liberations come out when containing it is much more unpleasing that others dont see but ourselves. When seeing different sides to ourselves comes easy when we are good at math and exploring the angles and sides to things comes easy. When other sides we dont see too often or dont understand we prefer not to see. When being a family man we get to see both our family and business flourish that we enjoy the balance away from time to time. When other things we enjoy seeing others dont share in the same tastes when they like seeing the same old same old everyday. When we dont see we explore our past sides we kept hidden to recapture them once again. When we see changing sides to ourselves we do at anytime that we dont see when we will change back. When we see we once enjoyed such places that we continue to revisit from time to time. When we dont see how such places takes a hold of us that we naturally enjoy going to but dont know why. When we see we are exposed to different sides to ourselves and other sides we begin to see a side to ourselves grow and evolve we never saw before. When others see such exposure they choose the side where others are headed to leave behind/destroy (let die) their past side to make way for a new side. When some sides we see of eachother others are not ready or cant think when they never explored that sided to themselves before. When seeing all sides to someone is new to us, we either reveal a side to us to others to see when we dont see the seriousness of ourselves superficially. When we see others sides, we must guide them to see seriousness of respecting all sides & boundaries. When others have had enough seeing someones various sides to know where & when not to cross sides when its wrong. When we dont see why crossing some sides brings out another side to us but we see what we what we have been missing out on. When we see that others come of age to switch sides but we dont see they are not ready when they are more comfortable with people close or near their age to not switch sides. When we see that switching sides is not easy when history puts on opposing sides for a reason. When switching sides means we choose sides we believe and rely on when switching sides is risky that cant go wrong. When we see crossing the other side involves covering all sides from surfacing. When we wish not others to see our side when we dont know what we are seeing and doing. When we are not ready to give up seeing the side we love seeing we dont give up on them and carry them through life in what they dont see. When we dont see what we are seeing to only rely on what we are thinking or feeling to either trust or forget what we care seeing all together. When we see what somethings are to not see its us to do it when we see its clearly others style to do so when we see what sides others enjoy most. When we see others are just like us to see we dont see eye to eye with how happy others see this side. When see the opposing side is best suited for us when we envy those we see as being on the right side of things. When we see some sides that are harmless we explore and dont explore when we see what side it would bring worth and not worth exploring. When we dont see how some sides will turn out and other sides we see what it brings, to leave all sight and let ourselves go in which ever side it takes us. When we see which side we are on when its revealled to us. When we see that we all enjoy the same side when we enjoy the edge & danger. When some sides we wish to see out and the open when we are tired of hiding. When we see others enjoy exploring this different side to themselves when it is just a harmless game we dont take serious. When we don't see what others see when we totally feel differently about everything then others. When we see that we enjoy this different side to us when we are in control and others feel more grown up and accepted. When we begin to see a point of no return to either be the lucky ones to get out, pick right or accept what we got ourselves into seeing what we didnt see before. When we see why venturing into different sides is wrong to see it is alright when others see our emotional and physical side that we naturally explore together. When we see that we reach the other side and nothing is there, we try to return back to seeing how we used to. When we see some trips have no return or longer wait back home to the other side. When we see sides as good and bad to only know what to do and see when wevare human. When we see that superhumans also are powerless to their abilities and dont see the end, so to humans when we cant always see what the end looks like. When we enjoy the side where everyone is together to see how lucky we are to be on the right side of things. When we dont always see what side wishes to unearth us that it bottles up and grabs us to choose sides in what we dont know until its too late.
Started very well. First half was great - quirkily funny with some great oddball family drama. Characters had depth and were engaging. Everything seemed set up for fantastic second half, complete with more quirky comedy and some intriguing family drama.
But, alas, it was not to be.
Second half is pretty dull, even silly, and ends in random anticlimactic fashion. After a largely comedy-driven first half, director Ang Lee gets all serious in the second half, turning the movie into a full-on drama. Laughs become few and far between. Moreover, the drama is dull, pointless and not at all profound. Very disappointing, especially considering how well it was set up.
Can't complain about the cast though. Heaps of big names, some of which weren't that big at the time: Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Tobey Maquire, Christina Ricci (16/17 at the time) and Elijah Wood. We even have Allison Janney and Katie Holmes in minor roles. This was Katie Holmes' first role, in either film or TV.
"The Ice Storm" is a flurry of sexual, drugged out, pathos infused liberties, perfectly capturing the simultaneously free and miserable echoes of its time period. None of the characters are happy, so much so that it seems fairly plausible that they miss the suffocation of the time in which they could mimic "Leave It to Beaver" and be contently empty. Ang Lee, pre-"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and post-"Sense and Sensibility", directs "The Ice Storm" not as a head-shaking cynic but as a voyeur helpless when approached by the lost decisions of Rick Moody's characters.
Taking place over the Thanksgiving weekend of 1973, "The Ice Storm" puts in motion a parade of maladjusted actions, specifically focusing on the Hood family and their neighbors, the Carvers. Mrs. Hood (Joan Allen) has picked up a shoplifting habit and is hardly speaking to her husband; Mr. Hood, in the meantime, is having a soulless affair with Mrs. Carver (Sigourney Weaver). And as Mr. Carver (Jamey Sheridan) busies himself with out-of-town business ventures, the kids of the families mostly hang around his home. Wendy Hood (Christina Ricci), a sexually curious 14-year-old, is in the process of attempting to seduce both Carver sons (Elijah Wood, Adam Hann-Byrd), either through make out sessions or show-me-yours-I'll-show-you-mine romps. The older Hood child, Paul (Tobey Maguire), is away at prep school, experimenting with drugs and attempting to win the heart of the damaged Libbets Casey (Katie Holmes). All of these characters are like trains ready to derail, and as an upcoming ice storm looms in the clouds, ready to destroy the premises, their emotions begin to mount until they reach an existential breaking point.
"The Ice Storm" is not the kind of film you analyze, the kind you have all figured out before the closing tells you otherwise. This is a movie you want to observe, to listen to, to discuss later but savor in the moment. The plot is complicated, sure to tangle - but it effortlessly connects the dots like a well-guided Altman epic, brilliant in its conception and brilliant in how well each side-plot complements the other. It's a movie of heightened discontent, one in which the characters attempt to escape by utilizing their newfound freedoms (sex, alcohol, drugs) but realize that, deep inside, a larger void is waiting to be filled and material things can hardly do the job. The film causes an ache in our heart, partly because it's difficult to see people suffer so intensely and partly because we are just as much in the dark regarding how to end their misery as they are. They feel helpless, we feel helpless - it's a vicious cycle that stays unforgettable.
The performances are phenomenal, the actors embodying their roles instead of keeping a safe distance away from them. "The Ice Storm" is a movie built on emotion and life-is-comedy situations, not worn out melodramatic devices - Lee, certainly one of the most versatile directors of the last two decades, keeps melancholy pumping and solution at a safe distance; in Tinsel Town, it's easy to invent a resolution for the sake of a happy ending. But things aren't so simple in "The Ice Storm" - agony is much more common than glittered fuckery.
Kevin Kline is sleeping with married Sigourney Weaver next door. She's using him for the sexual excitement she no longer feels with her husband, he thinks it's for real. His wife played by the sublime Joan Allen is a repressed, shoplifting homemaker looking for a meaning to her adulthood as the kids begin to leave the house. The kids are fantastic too. Christina Ricci owns her role as their politically minded daughter complete with toe socks and a desire to deflower as many boys as possible just to stick it to dear old dad. Elijah Wood is her main target - and Weaver's son. And Tobey Maguire, then unknown, is perfect as Kline's son, coming home from school for the holiday weekend and counting the minutes to get away from the tension.
The mood of the 70's is captured in the precise production design, costuming and plotting which includes lots of pot-smoking dinner parties, period musical cues and a Saturday night key party that is unforgettable. All of this hedonism of course leading to a terrible twist of fate as all the characters find themselves imperiled by their choices and the titular storm of the century. Rare is the film that grows in richness over the years the way this one has.
The entire cast is perfection down to great supporting players like Allison Janney and Henry Czerny as more swinging neighbors and Katie Holmes as Maguire's love interest. Weaver won the British Academy Award for her role and was Golden Globe nominated. But while The Chicago Film Critics Circle and the Writers Guild noticed the film's brilliance, this small masterpiece received no Oscar love at all in a highly competitive year. A shame as it's one of the best films of the 1990's, a personal favorite and the best Thanksgiving film ever.