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Key parties, infidelity, family dysfunction, the Watergate hearings – all play a part in Ang Lee‘s The Ice Storm. A wonderful period piece which seems to encapsulate the discontent of the middle 70s, The Ice Storm covers Thanksgiving in affluent NYC suburb, New Canaan, Connecticut. Paul Hood (Tobey Maguire) returns home from boarding school to encounter Watergate obsessed and sexually curious younger sister Wendy (Christina Ricci), adulterous father Ben (Kevin Kline) and a mother, Elena (Joan Allen), who senses it all slipping away.

An awkward family dinner.

Based on the novel by Rick Moody, Taiwanese director Ang Lee tackles 70s American malaise with such a deft touch. Much like the most of the country at the time, every character in this film is miserable. And when the smallest of bright spots open up for the characters, an unforeseen tragedy occurs, shaking their world at its roots. The foreboding titular ice storm threatens the characters from the outset and literally freezes them in time, making each of them take stock of their lives.

Mikey (Elijah Wood) contemplates the storm and its destructive power.

Joan Allen has always been one of my favorite actresses and her performance in this is outstanding, without a doubt my favorite of hers. The moment she figures out Ben is cheating on her is so devastatingly crushing, all told with a simple look on her face.

So, since you and your families will likely be arguing about something this holiday, why not click this perfectly crafted period piece on and have it join the party as well. It will go well with all of the tryptophan you are consuming.

The Ice Storm is streaming on Amazon and iTunes.

Here’s the trailer: