The Ice Storm


1h 52m 1997

Brief Synopsis

Its 1973 in New Canaan, Connecticut, and Ben and Elena Hood are feeling the destabilizing winds of change and moral quandary blow through their wealthy suburb. As Ben carries on a discreet affair with neighbor Janey Carver, his teenage kids explore their own sexual boundaries--all against the cultur

Film Details

Also Known As
Ice Storm
MPAA Rating
PG-13
Genre
Adaptation
Comedy
Drama
Family
Period
Romance
Release Date
1997
Production Company
Fox Searchlight Pictures; Sound One; Union Generale
Distribution Company
Fox Searchlight Pictures; 20th Century Fox; 20th Century Fox Distribution; 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment; Filmcoopi Zurich Ag; Finnkino Oy; Fox Searchlight Pictures; Les Films De L'Elysee; Medusa Film; Mk2 International; Pandora Film Produktion; Sam Film; Village Roadshow Limited; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International
Location
New Canaan, Connecticut, USA; New York City, New York, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 52m

Synopsis

Its 1973 in New Canaan, Connecticut, and Ben and Elena Hood are feeling the destabilizing winds of change and moral quandary blow through their wealthy suburb. As Ben carries on a discreet affair with neighbor Janey Carver, his teenage kids explore their own sexual boundaries--all against the cultural backdrop of Watergate, mind-altering drugs, and the fashion excess of the seventies. The night an ice storm sweeps into town, the delicate web of emotions and honor which binds these people is tested to its breaking point.

Crew

G. A. Aguilar

Stunt Coordinator

Jennifer Alex

Assistant Set Decorator

Paige Bailey

Art Department Coordinator

Alysse Bezahler

Unit Production Manager

Alysse Bezahler

Associate Producer

William Bishop

Set Dresser

David Bowie

Song Performer ("I Can'T Read")

David Bowie

Song

Anthony Bregman

Associate Producer

Anthony Bregman

Post-Production Supervisor

Jill Brown

Stunts

Debbie Canfield

Set Dresser

Kelly Canfield

Key Set Dresser

Scott Canfield

Set Dresser

Stephanie Carroll

Set Decorator

Andrew Casey

Steadicam Operator

Jean-christophe Castelli

Researcher

Kam Chan

Foley Editor

Ben Cheah

Assistant Sound Editor

Wendy Cohen

Product Placement & Clearances

Marko Costanzo

Foley Artist

Adger Cowans

Still Photographer

Douglas Crosby

Stunt Coordinator

Mychael Danna

Music

Danny Downey

Stunts

Fred Elmes

Director Of Photography

James C. Feng

Assistant Art Director

Chris Fielder

Assistant Sound Editor

Charlie Foster

Set Dresser

Mark Friedberg

Production Designer

Reeves Gabrels

Song ("I Can'T Read")

Eugene Gearty

Sound Effects Designer

Adam Gilmore

2nd Assistant Camera

Ed Gleason

Video Assistant

Dennis Green

Other

Alisa Grifo

Art Department Assistant

John Harajovic

Set Dresser

Andy Harris

1st Assistant Camera

Ted Hope

Producer

Avy Kaufman

Casting

Paul D Kelly

Assistant Art Director

Frank Kern

Foley Editor

Tina Khayat

Assistant (To Production Designer)

Nancy Kriegel

Production Supervisor

Drew Kunin

Sound Mixer

Ang Lee

Producer

Claudia Lewis

Studio Executive

Jim Lillis

On-Set Dresser

Julie Lindner

Assistant Sound Editor

Susan Littenberg

1st Assistant Editor

Marissa Littlefield

Adr Editor

Nicholas Lundy

Assistant Art Director

Etienne Martine

Set Dresser

Brick Mason

Storyboards

Kelly Miller

Post-Production Supervisor

Todd Milner

Assistant Sound Editor

Rick Moody

Source Material (From Novel)

Michael Murphy

Set Dresser

Patrick Murphy

Set Dresser

James W Murray

1st Assistant Director

Peter Nauyokas

Set Dresser

Brian O'kelley

2nd Assistant Director

Carol Oditz

Costume Designer

Phil Oetiker

Camera Operator

Lizzie Olesker

Stunts

Glenfield Payne

Assistant Sound Editor

Linda Perkins

Second 2nd Assistant Director

Mario J Presterone

Set Dresser

Frank Prinzi

2nd Unit Photography (2nd Unit)

Bruce Pross

Foley Supervisor

Patrick Quinn

Camera Loader

Rick Rafael

Steadicam Operator

Paul Richards

Set Dresser

Fred Rosenberg

Dialogue Editor

Lisa M Rowe

2nd Assistant Director

James Schamus

Screenwriter

James Schamus

Producer

Barrett Schumacher

Set Dresser

James Shamus

Screenwriter

Bob Shaw

Art Director

Bob Shaw

Art Director

John Sosenko

Camera Operator

Tim Squyres

Editor

Reilly Steele

Re-Recording Mixer (Sound One)

Alex Steyermark

Music Supervisor

Philip Stockton

Supervising Sound Editor

Robin Thomas

Art Department Assistant

Susan Trout

Stunts

Stephen Wertimer

1st Assistant Director

Barry Wetcher

Still Photographer

Mary Wigmore

Art Department Assistant

Paul Wilson

Set Dresser

Kelly Winn

Set Dresser

Travis K Wright

On-Set Dresser

Film Details

Also Known As
Ice Storm
MPAA Rating
PG-13
Genre
Adaptation
Comedy
Drama
Family
Period
Romance
Release Date
1997
Production Company
Fox Searchlight Pictures; Sound One; Union Generale
Distribution Company
Fox Searchlight Pictures; 20th Century Fox; 20th Century Fox Distribution; 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment; Filmcoopi Zurich Ag; Finnkino Oy; Fox Searchlight Pictures; Les Films De L'Elysee; Medusa Film; Mk2 International; Pandora Film Produktion; Sam Film; Village Roadshow Limited; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International
Location
New Canaan, Connecticut, USA; New York City, New York, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 52m

Articles

The Ice Storm - Ang Lee's THE ICE STORM - The Criterion Collection Edition


Here's the setup for a sensational, incisive drama about sexual alienation in American suburbia. Bored wives and husbands in a New England bedroom community express their unhappiness through outside affairs and other risky activities. As if sensing the general deterioration of values, a pampered daughter also takes to underage sexual activity. The drama comes to a head at a neighborhood social gathering where couples use a lottery to swap bed partners for the night.

That's a rough description of Sin in the Suburbs, an ambitious 'adult' movie from the middle 1960s written and directed by Joe Sarno. It remains a cult obscurity. Taiwan-born Ang Lee's 1997 The Ice Storm, directing from a novel by Rick Moody, adds the respectability of sensitive performances, political references and poetic visuals. In the waning days of the 'sexual revolution', an American community is experiencing an out-of-control, despairing sexual breakdown.

Synopsis: The prosperous Hood and Carver families of New Canaan, Connecticut are coming apart. Ben Hood (Kevin Kline) is conducting an affair with Janey Carver (Sigourney Weaver). The miserable, emotionally confused Elena Hood (Joan Allen) is tempted by a longhaired progressive minister, and caught shoplifting. Disillusioned by the Watergate proceedings on television, Elena's 14 year-old daughter Wendy (Christian Ricci) is convinced that everything around her is both hostile and hypocritical. She makes sexual overtures to the Carver sons, distracted Mikey (Elijah Wood) and the even younger Sandy (Adam Hann-Byrd). The parents' boredom seems malignant when they discuss Deep Throat at a dinner gathering. On an especially cold winter's night, the Hoods' son Paul (Tobey Maguire) gets to date the girl of his dreams, Libbets Casey (Katie Holmes), only to find that his college roommate has been invited as well. Already at the point of breaking up, the Hoods attend a local gathering that turns out to be a 'key party': consenting couples agree to sleep with whoever's key is pulled from a serving dish.

The Ice Storm uses a big weather freeze as its main metaphor; if the movie weren't so resolutely humorless, it could easily be taken as a black comedy. The woods are icing up as if in response to the terminal unhappiness in trendy New Canaan. The Hood and Carver families are no longer functional; none of its members seem to enjoy living together. Husbands and wives cohabitate in open hostility and passive denial. Adulterous sex is a joyless attempt at escape while a housewife's suppressed rage shows itself in pitiful self-destructive acts. The kids withdraw, openly refusing to communicate with their parents. The younger Carver boy amuses himself by blowing up his toys and model airplanes. Wendy is given to behavior that screams out for parental intervention, acting out her need for meaningful human contact by interesting the Carver boys in sexual games.

The script burdens all of this with a political context as unsubtle as Wendy's Richard Nixon mask. Wendy believes that America is based on lies, while some of the adults seem desperate to be a part of the media-fed illusion called the sexual revolution. They talk about Deep Throat and imagine that suburban life in swingin' California is somehow more liberated. Sin in the Suburbs' wife-swapping couples are shallow, bored members of the lower middle class, but the upscale Americans of The Ice Storm are existential weaklings suffering a breakdown of shared values. Have they become so desensitized that a sex lottery is required to make their blood circulate? Or do they think that shattering taboos will allow them to transcend their own misery?

The New Canaanites live in psychological isolation, in glass houses that allow them to see their natural surroundings but also invite unwelcome reflections of their own unhappiness. Ordinary attempts at conversation are choked by layers of irony. Ben's wife accuses him of making dishonest 'small talk' and his attempt at a 'birds & bees' speech to his son is pathetic. But Ben's daughter Wendy reacts strongly to his offer to carry her home when her feet are cold: like most of the characters, she's desperate for meaningful physical contact. 1973 culture has become so over-sexualized, adults and kids assume that sex is the only way people relate to one another.

Slightly outside the familial sickness is college student Paul Hood, whose hopes for sexual conquest fade on a disappointing date. Dream girl Libbets Casey is really interested in Paul's roommate. Paul attempts to reverse that situation but shows that he's retained a streak of decency when he draws the line at date rape. An obvious author surrogate, Paul reads Marvel Comics, which allows The Ice Storm to trowel on another layer of significance: the super-powers of the 'family' in The Fantastic Four are both a blessing and a curse.

Ang Lee brings everything needed to this very American story, save for a sense of humor. He directs The Ice Storm smoothly, guiding an exceptional cast through difficult roles. Joan Allen (Pleasantville) is particularly good as an intelligent woman in a soul-numbing situation. Her Elena welcomes the attentions of a minister from an alternative church (Michael Cumpsty), only to realize that he's as screwed up as any of her neighbors. Sigourney Weaver is the depressed Janey, a woman so distracted that she can't distinguish her liaisons with Ben from her other afternoon errands. Christina Ricci's Wendy at first seems the catalyst for dangerous underage sex, yet she finds calm and balance in an almost motherly embrace with a 12 year-old neighbor. On the night of the big freeze, the forces of nature rise to overpower the human drama, as if restoring balance to a tilted moral universe. Tree branches tinkle with icicles, roads turn slick and downed power lines become an invisible danger.

The movie concludes with a sudden death that shakes some of the characters out of their self-absorption, and provides the story with a welcome final uplift. When Paul's ice-delayed train finally pulls into the station, he's delighted to find his entire family on the platform waiting for him, a minor miracle in these circumstances. Some viewers may reject The Ice Storm's vision of sordid happenings in a land of peace and plenty. The movie seems to say that a nation's values are reflected in personal behavior, and that moral insecurity spreads like a social disease.

Criterion and Fox's 2-Disc DVD of The Ice Storm has a beautiful enhanced transfer and stereo sound, encouraging Bill Krohn's assertion that Ang Lee's film is the best American picture of the 1990s.

Director Lee and producer-screenwriter James Schamus offer an acceptable full-length commentary, and discuss all of their movies before an audience at a museum screening. Joan Allen, Tobey Maguire, Kevin Kline, Elijah Wood, Christina Ricci and Sigourney Weaver speak their minds in a long-form interview documentary, and author Rick Moody has his own interview piece. A trio of 'visual essays' allow the cameraman and designers to explain their work: the realistic winter ice was created with icicles cast in resin and thousands of gallons of hair gel. Also included are a selection of interesting deleted scenes, and Bill Krohn's insert booklet essay.

For more information about The Ice Storm, visit The Criterion Collection. To order The Ice Storm, go to TCM Shopping.

by Glenn Erickson
The Ice Storm - Ang Lee's The Ice Storm - The Criterion Collection Edition

The Ice Storm - Ang Lee's THE ICE STORM - The Criterion Collection Edition

Here's the setup for a sensational, incisive drama about sexual alienation in American suburbia. Bored wives and husbands in a New England bedroom community express their unhappiness through outside affairs and other risky activities. As if sensing the general deterioration of values, a pampered daughter also takes to underage sexual activity. The drama comes to a head at a neighborhood social gathering where couples use a lottery to swap bed partners for the night. That's a rough description of Sin in the Suburbs, an ambitious 'adult' movie from the middle 1960s written and directed by Joe Sarno. It remains a cult obscurity. Taiwan-born Ang Lee's 1997 The Ice Storm, directing from a novel by Rick Moody, adds the respectability of sensitive performances, political references and poetic visuals. In the waning days of the 'sexual revolution', an American community is experiencing an out-of-control, despairing sexual breakdown. Synopsis: The prosperous Hood and Carver families of New Canaan, Connecticut are coming apart. Ben Hood (Kevin Kline) is conducting an affair with Janey Carver (Sigourney Weaver). The miserable, emotionally confused Elena Hood (Joan Allen) is tempted by a longhaired progressive minister, and caught shoplifting. Disillusioned by the Watergate proceedings on television, Elena's 14 year-old daughter Wendy (Christian Ricci) is convinced that everything around her is both hostile and hypocritical. She makes sexual overtures to the Carver sons, distracted Mikey (Elijah Wood) and the even younger Sandy (Adam Hann-Byrd). The parents' boredom seems malignant when they discuss Deep Throat at a dinner gathering. On an especially cold winter's night, the Hoods' son Paul (Tobey Maguire) gets to date the girl of his dreams, Libbets Casey (Katie Holmes), only to find that his college roommate has been invited as well. Already at the point of breaking up, the Hoods attend a local gathering that turns out to be a 'key party': consenting couples agree to sleep with whoever's key is pulled from a serving dish. The Ice Storm uses a big weather freeze as its main metaphor; if the movie weren't so resolutely humorless, it could easily be taken as a black comedy. The woods are icing up as if in response to the terminal unhappiness in trendy New Canaan. The Hood and Carver families are no longer functional; none of its members seem to enjoy living together. Husbands and wives cohabitate in open hostility and passive denial. Adulterous sex is a joyless attempt at escape while a housewife's suppressed rage shows itself in pitiful self-destructive acts. The kids withdraw, openly refusing to communicate with their parents. The younger Carver boy amuses himself by blowing up his toys and model airplanes. Wendy is given to behavior that screams out for parental intervention, acting out her need for meaningful human contact by interesting the Carver boys in sexual games. The script burdens all of this with a political context as unsubtle as Wendy's Richard Nixon mask. Wendy believes that America is based on lies, while some of the adults seem desperate to be a part of the media-fed illusion called the sexual revolution. They talk about Deep Throat and imagine that suburban life in swingin' California is somehow more liberated. Sin in the Suburbs' wife-swapping couples are shallow, bored members of the lower middle class, but the upscale Americans of The Ice Storm are existential weaklings suffering a breakdown of shared values. Have they become so desensitized that a sex lottery is required to make their blood circulate? Or do they think that shattering taboos will allow them to transcend their own misery? The New Canaanites live in psychological isolation, in glass houses that allow them to see their natural surroundings but also invite unwelcome reflections of their own unhappiness. Ordinary attempts at conversation are choked by layers of irony. Ben's wife accuses him of making dishonest 'small talk' and his attempt at a 'birds & bees' speech to his son is pathetic. But Ben's daughter Wendy reacts strongly to his offer to carry her home when her feet are cold: like most of the characters, she's desperate for meaningful physical contact. 1973 culture has become so over-sexualized, adults and kids assume that sex is the only way people relate to one another. Slightly outside the familial sickness is college student Paul Hood, whose hopes for sexual conquest fade on a disappointing date. Dream girl Libbets Casey is really interested in Paul's roommate. Paul attempts to reverse that situation but shows that he's retained a streak of decency when he draws the line at date rape. An obvious author surrogate, Paul reads Marvel Comics, which allows The Ice Storm to trowel on another layer of significance: the super-powers of the 'family' in The Fantastic Four are both a blessing and a curse. Ang Lee brings everything needed to this very American story, save for a sense of humor. He directs The Ice Storm smoothly, guiding an exceptional cast through difficult roles. Joan Allen (Pleasantville) is particularly good as an intelligent woman in a soul-numbing situation. Her Elena welcomes the attentions of a minister from an alternative church (Michael Cumpsty), only to realize that he's as screwed up as any of her neighbors. Sigourney Weaver is the depressed Janey, a woman so distracted that she can't distinguish her liaisons with Ben from her other afternoon errands. Christina Ricci's Wendy at first seems the catalyst for dangerous underage sex, yet she finds calm and balance in an almost motherly embrace with a 12 year-old neighbor. On the night of the big freeze, the forces of nature rise to overpower the human drama, as if restoring balance to a tilted moral universe. Tree branches tinkle with icicles, roads turn slick and downed power lines become an invisible danger. The movie concludes with a sudden death that shakes some of the characters out of their self-absorption, and provides the story with a welcome final uplift. When Paul's ice-delayed train finally pulls into the station, he's delighted to find his entire family on the platform waiting for him, a minor miracle in these circumstances. Some viewers may reject The Ice Storm's vision of sordid happenings in a land of peace and plenty. The movie seems to say that a nation's values are reflected in personal behavior, and that moral insecurity spreads like a social disease. Criterion and Fox's 2-Disc DVD of The Ice Storm has a beautiful enhanced transfer and stereo sound, encouraging Bill Krohn's assertion that Ang Lee's film is the best American picture of the 1990s. Director Lee and producer-screenwriter James Schamus offer an acceptable full-length commentary, and discuss all of their movies before an audience at a museum screening. Joan Allen, Tobey Maguire, Kevin Kline, Elijah Wood, Christina Ricci and Sigourney Weaver speak their minds in a long-form interview documentary, and author Rick Moody has his own interview piece. A trio of 'visual essays' allow the cameraman and designers to explain their work: the realistic winter ice was created with icicles cast in resin and thousands of gallons of hair gel. Also included are a selection of interesting deleted scenes, and Bill Krohn's insert booklet essay. For more information about The Ice Storm, visit The Criterion Collection. To order The Ice Storm, go to TCM Shopping. by Glenn Erickson

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Winner of the Best Screenplay Award at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival.

Expanded Release in United States November 14, 1997

Limited Release in United States October 17, 1997

Released in United States 1997

Released in United States August 1997

Released in United States Fall September 27, 1997

Released in United States June 1998

Released in United States November 1997

Released in United States November 2001

Released in United States October 1997

Released in United States on Video April 14, 1998

Shown at Birmingham International Film & Television Festival (Closing Night) in the United Kingdom November 19-30, 1997.

Shown at Chicago International Film Festival (Exclusive Screening) October 9-19, 1997.

Shown at Denver International Film Festival October 23-30 1997.

Shown at Edinburgh International Film Festival August 10-24, 1997.

Shown at International Film Festival of Festivals in St. Petersburg, Russia June 23-29, 1998.

Shown at Locarno International Film Festival August 6-16, 1997.

Shown at London Film Festival November 6-23, 1997.

Shown at Mill Valley Film Festival (Opening Night) October 2-12, 1997.

Shown at New York Film Festival (Opening Night) September 26 - October 12, 1997.

Based on the novel "The Ice Storm" by Rick Moody; published by Little Brown & Co May, 1994.

James Schamus was nominated for the 1997 award for Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published by the Writers Guild of America (WGA).

Began shooting April 9, 1996.

Completed shooting June 25, 1996.

Released in United States 1997 (Shown at New York Film Festival (Opening Night) September 26 - October 12, 1997.)

Released in United States on Video April 14, 1998

Released in United States June 1998 (Shown at International Film Festival of Festivals in St. Petersburg, Russia June 23-29, 1998.)

Released in United States August 1997 (Shown at Edinburgh International Film Festival August 10-24, 1997.)

Released in United States August 1997 (Shown at Locarno International Film Festival August 6-16, 1997.)

Released in United States Fall September 27, 1997

Released in United States October 1997 (Shown at Chicago International Film Festival (Exclusive Screening) October 9-19, 1997.)

Released in United States October 1997 (Shown at Denver International Film Festival October 23-30 1997.)

Released in United States October 1997 (Shown at Mill Valley Film Festival (Opening Night) October 2-12, 1997.)

Limited Release in United States October 17, 1997

Released in United States November 1997 (Shown at Birmingham International Film & Television Festival (Closing Night) in the United Kingdom November 19-30, 1997.)

Released in United States November 1997 (Shown at London Film Festival November 6-23, 1997.)

Released in United States November 2001 (Shown at AFI Fest 2001: The American Film Institute Los Angeles International Film Festival (Tribute) November 1-11, 2001.)

Expanded Release in United States November 14, 1997