Sex in the Suburbs

In The Ice Storm, promiscuity seems merely pathetic

The film suffers somewhat from one other problem. Lee has jokingly referred to his first three films as the Father Knows Best trilogy, because all were anchored around a paternal character played by Sihung Lung. While Lung's personae were always at least partial causes of the films' conflicts, he was still a basically strong, admirable sort.

The Ice Storm has no such anchor. All the adults are at sea; they are at best ineffectual. And most of the kids are equally lost souls. (In a running gag, the town's hip minister seems just as morally lost as the rest.) Only Paul, who narrates the story, comes through relatively unscathed, and he inhabits a different world than the rest of the characters: His role is so subsidiary and tangential to the main action that his appearance in the final scenes is almost jarring.

The Ice Storm.
Directed by Ang Lee. With Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood and Henry Czerny.

Rated R.
113 minutes.

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