The Ice Storm Book vs Movie Critique




There are many ways to tell a story. Back before there were books there as the actual storyteller who could speak out a story. There is also acting where people physically perform a story. Books are another storytelling device that is more permanent, the words are kept and they can be reviewed again and again. Now there are movies, which provide story telling with more an emphasis on visual effects. The question is which way is the best to present a certain type of story. The Ice Storm by Rick Moody was in such a position that one could actually look at both the modern movie and the book version.

The story is a realistic story about the Hoods and the Willams. Both of these families were affluent families that lived in New Canaan. The book centers around Wendy and the events that take place during the their thanksgiving in the 70s. The story is pretty simple and is about family strife. Wendy is a typical adolescent exploring her sexuality. At the same time her parents, Ben and Elena are having marital differences. Ben is cheating on his wife with Janey, the wife of his close friend Jim. The irony comes up with Wendy who is has sexual relations with Janey and Jim’s son Mikey and his younger brother Sandy. Wendy’s older brother Paul who goes to boarding school returns home and is sexual inexperienced he desires to be with a girl named Libbets. The story centers around a key party that both the Hood’s and Willams’ attend. The highlight of the key party is where people place their keys into a jar and people pick up the keys of different people to have sex with the owner of the keys. At this party Ben expects to have sex with Janey, but instead Janey blows him off and has sex with someone else. This night Elena also finds out about the affair and has an affair with Jim, Janey’s wife. Now while both of the parents are away Mikey wants to see Wendy, but instead Wendy fools around with Sandy. Mikey ends up wandering during the ice storm to get electrocuted by a live wire. At the same time Paul is with Libbets drinking and taking drugs. All of this is happening simultaneously on one fortuitous night.

Though the events and a lot of the dialogue are the same in both the book and the movie the crux of the two are completely different. The book focuses a lot more on sexual tension and sexual exploration. The vocabulary they use is a lot more elaborate than the movie, actually it’s more elaborate than most books. I see few books that use the word “orgasm” or “bestiality” at all. It’s not typical book lingo. Though the vocabulary emphasizes the sexual nature of the book. The movie on the other hand probably wouldn’t make a lot of money going with the erotic taboo nature of the book. Instead it focuses more around the ideas of family neglect and the hypocrisy of the parents doing what they don’t want their kids to do. The story is more like an MTV clip of the real world than the book plot. Though that’s what makes the movie so great. The people seem so real, like everyday people. The relation is even stronger because I live in an affluent community. The two different focuses put a different tint into the same story.

For instance there is a scene where Sandy and Wendy are fooling around while their parents were gone. The dialogue is exactly the same. Wendy says, “Have you ever had a nocturnal emission” and Sandy replies, “Huh?” Wendy says, “They didn’t tell you this stuff yet? What planet do you live on?” (149). In the movie it’s pretty insignificant. The movie is more about the shock that these kids are fooling around in bed and the talk shows how they’re so immature about sex. In the book though this is significant because the next page they show what Wendy is thinking and how she doesn’t even know what she is talking about. “She didn’t know much about them anyway. Orgasm was a word she had looked