A novel by Rick Moody published in April of 1994 and adapted to film by director Ang Lee.
The setting is suburbia, 1973, during Nixon's Watergate hearings. The nation is in a state of adolescence, new ways challenging old traditions. This fugue is reflected in 2 families who are going through their own adolescences. The adults, innocently experimenting with swinging, drugs and alcohol, behave like adolescents. The adolescents mirror their parents' behavior through sexual experimentation, drugs and alcohol, and so forth.
The story climaxes with a major ice storm where discoveries are made about themselves and a tragic death that brings them all together.

The Ice Storm (1997)

Ang Lee's The Ice Storm, based on a novel of the same name by Rick Moody (ISBN: 0316706000), portrays a slice of the lives of an upper middle class family living in New York City's Connecticut suburbs in 1973. Ben (Kevin Kline) and Elena Hood (Joan Allen) are by any measure a successful couple. They have an expensive house on a large plot of land in a beautiful New England town. They have two beautiful children, Paul (Tobey Maguire) and Wendy (Christina Ricci), and attend parties with their stylish friends and neighbors.

The movie opens (after a short introductory scene with a bit of naration by Maguire on the destructive nature of families) with the Hoods attending a dinner party hosted by their neighbors, Jim and Janey Carver (Jamey Sheridan and Sigourney Weaver). By this point in 1973, the sexual revolution has moved beyond the hippie and beatnick movements, and entered mainstream society. The adults are discussing key parties in which the husbands all put their keys in a jar, and at the end of the party the wives all pick keys out at random to determine who they're going home with.

The adults of the movie are unable to deal with their undefined social and sexual roles, which conflict strongly with their repressed protestant upbringings. The children are struggling with their own sexuality, and the confusing messages of society around them, as the sexual revolution, drug culture, and the national disillusionment of Watergate and Vietnam. Wendy and the Carvers' children Mikey and Sandy (Elijah Wood and Adam Hann-Byrn) fumble with sex in a couple of disturbing scenes. When the parents find out, they are totally unable to communicate with the kids, and ultimately almost ignore what's going on. This cold denial of feeling is mirrored by the weather as the emotional turmoil of these two families climaxes during the titular ice storm.

Ang Lee's touch can be felt throughout the film, especially in the patient pacing, powerful cinematography, and very effective musical score. This is not a Hollywood movie.

This movie was rated R by the MPAA for language, sex, and drug use. As stated previously, some of the sexual situations (although no nudity is involved) and drug use is carried out by children.

Facts and spelling checked on IMDB: http://imdb.com/

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