The Ice Storm

Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 23
  2. Negative: 1 out of 23

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Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    What we sense after the film is that the natural sources of pleasure have been replaced with higher-octane substitutes, which have burnt out the ability to feel joy.
  2. 100
    Provocative, entertaining, and impeccably crafted.
  3. 100
    This emotional climax of the film, with its warring glints of despair and hope, typifies the stunning achievement of The Ice Storm and confirms Lee as a director of the first rank.
  4. This remarkable analysis of a decade when American society lost its moral compass is both brutally honest and lyrically compassionate.
  5. Elegant and deeply disquieting drama.
  6. 90
    A harsh (though slightly toned down from Moody's book), deeply moving, emotionally rich and intelligent film about the difficulty of rebelling against social restrictions--and the inescapable consequences of such attempts when they do succeed--The Ice Storm should not be missed.
  7. Kevin Kline is sweetly befuddled as a good man caught between worlds, and Sigourney Weaver, as a hard, sexy adulteress, makes her wit sting.
  8. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    80
    The dazzling ensemble perfectly captures every nuance in one of the finest acting showcases you could hope for.
  9. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    80
    Unlike many dramas of middle-class family wreckage, which tilt toward soapoperatic revelations, The Ice Storm is told from an ironic, almost meditative distance that gives the movie its paradoxical power.
  10. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    80
    A well-observed and deftly performed examination of upper-middle-class emotional deep freeze, The Ice Storm is an intelligent, adult American film.
  11. USA Today
    Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    75
    This time, he (Ang Lee) has Kevin Kline, Joan Allen and Sigourney Weaver trudging through ice both emotional and literal -- an omnipresent metaphor but not one unduly sledgehammered. [26 September 1997, pg. 1 D}
  12. Never becomes the thoroughly satisfying psychological drama that it promises to be. There's also a problem with the central metaphor of ice -- a literary device that turns repetitive and obvious.
  13. 70
    Ricci's Wendy captures the volatile combination of aggressiveness and uncertainty in a young woman trying to come to terms with her sexuality like no performance since Emily Lloyd's in "Wish You Were Here." It's a very different performance, quieter, harder and yet more vulnerable.
  14. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    70
    Lee views these mortal fools with a sorrowful detachment. He's a sort of clinical humanist, editorializing only by what he leaves out. The downside of this method is its impersonality, which limits our involvement. The upside is its lack of cheap sentiment, and its clarity.
  15. 70
    It's during the shift to seriousness that The Ice Storm makes its missteps. The intrusion of tragedy, while altogether believable, still seems like a device, a calculated tug at the heart strings. It is, in short, a once-effective ploy that now feels like a cliche. A near-miss might have been more effective.
  16. Washington Post
    Reviewed by: Rita Kempley
    70
    The decade has been fondly spoofed in capers like "The Brady Bunch," but Lee's film takes a much more searing, if initially hilarious look at the sexual revolution's migration to a New England suburb and the community's subsequent meltdown. [17 October 1997, p.D6]
  17. Leaves the audience on such a devastatingly dramatic ledge.
User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 54 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. BobD.
    Apr 9, 2007
    0
    The most depressing, pointless movie I have ever seen. Pure crap. I must say, the acting is fairly good, but at the end I wanted to stick my The most depressing, pointless movie I have ever seen. Pure crap. I must say, the acting is fairly good, but at the end I wanted to stick my head in an oven. One of the hallmarks of good dramas is that there is conflict and also resolution...there is plenty of conflict but not one good, happy, or decent thing happens. This was a movie written and directed for critics, typical Hollywood elitism. It was so awful I am shocked that it didn't win an Oscar! Full Review »
  2. BryanH.
    Feb 4, 2007
    10
    By far the best film ever, not to have been nominated for best film. It was Kevin Kline's best work to date and Ang Lee established By far the best film ever, not to have been nominated for best film. It was Kevin Kline's best work to date and Ang Lee established himself as the most sensitive director alive. The entire cast was flawless. The cinematography and soundtrack left me yearning for more, though the catharsis brought to bear was complete! It captures a glimpse of the disco era (minus the disco) that you will never see again. The warmth of its meaning made up for the sometimes cold Connecticut bourgeoisie. Despite it's icy backdrop, it heats the screen with a humanity and reality I have rarely seen on or off the screen. Full Review »
  3. LeonardoF
    Mar 6, 2006
    10
    Absolutely brilliant.