Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that The Ice Storm is a 1997 film based on the novel by Rick Moody; it's an unsparing, unsentimental story, set against the backdrop of Watergate-era malaise, about the implosion of an upper middle class family through extramarital affairs, excessive drinking, and drug use. While it's one of the best films from the 1990s, the teens and preteens in the film engage in drinking, pot smoking, pill taking, and sexual experimentation; while none of this is glamorized, the behavior makes this most suitable for older teens mature enough to see the teens' (and adults') behavior not as fodder for bad ideas to try on their own, but as characters in a movie caught up in the tenor of the times while falling apart through their questionable decisions. Parents also need to know that a major character is shown being electrocuted and that there's some minor profanity.
This film, in part, explores the consequences of adult characters in an upper middle-class suburb during the early 1970s having extramarital affairs. Early in the film, at a dinner party, a woman reaches out for the crotch of a man while pretending to dry off the wine that was spilled on his pants. Adults having affairs are shown in bed after having sex. Teens and preteens are shown sleeping together and openly discussing sex. Adults attend a "key party" in which male characters leave their car keys in a bowl to be drawn at random by women attending the party; whoever's keys the women pick is the man she sleeps with. A teen girl of fourteen tells a preteen boy, "I'll show you mine if you show me yours." A teen girl and preteen boy engage in sexual explorations while under the covers in bed.
SPOILER: A boy running around outside after an ice storm is shown being electrocuted after a nearby power line falls to the ground. A boy packs his model airplanes with M80 fireworks, lights them, then sends them flying so he can watch the explosions.
Mild profanity throughout the film.
While an excellent film, this story of a dysfunctional family's descent into drugs, alcohol, and extramarital affairs offers little in the way of positive messages.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Adult, teen, and preteen characters drink, smoke, and use drugs throughout the film. Early in the film, two teen boys in a prep school smoke marijuana out of a giant bong. A teen boy is shown drinking from the leftover wine in the kitchen of the dinner party. At an apartment in "the city," three teens drink beer together, then take prescription pills found in the medicine cabinet. A 14-year-old girl drinks vodka, offers some to a preteen boy. She later asks if the boy feels drunk yet.