Dark Movie Shows Stormy Connecticut

The Great American Road Trip

Glass Trees
Glass Trees

Destination: Connecticut

Movie: Ice Storm (1997) Starring Kevin Kline and Sigourny Weaver, Directed by Ang Lee Filmed in Greenwich, Connecticut.

First a word about road trips.

“Everybody in this nation, in the Americas, we all are descendants of people who came from the other hemisphere, each of us a descendant of travelers. Movement is in our blood. To speak metaphorically, we seem to carry a travel gene that makes us want to move.”  That’s William Least-Heat Moon, author of the great road trip travel literature Blue Highways, talking to CNN for their series on Road Trips.

For the musical background for our trip to Connecticut, Music Road suggests for the Great American Music Trip: a group based in that state.

Day 136 {8/2/09}
Mark Twain House

So as our Great American Road Trip heads out from Massachusetts to Connecticut, we take a look at the part of Connecticut that is a bedroom community for commuters. Of course as you are driving through this New England state,  you are going to see some lovely scenery (see the Connecticut Tourism site for suggestions), and drop in on some historic sites, like the Mark Twain house. (Mark Twain pops up a lot in my posts this year because it is the centennial of his death.)

But here’s a look at the non-tourist part of the state.

The movie, Ice Storm, set in 1973,  focuses on a couple of dysfunctional families with teen age kids. Is that an oxymoron? Does any family function well when their kids are teenagers? Sorry, I went off track for a moment there, but this movie kind of forces you to think about things like that.

The movie features terrific performances by all the actors–particularly the kids. Elijah Woods, later to become famous in Lord of the Rings,  plays a brooding teen and Christina Ricci does the oversexed teen girl, with even more panache than Sigourney Weaver does the bored-with-sex neighbor woman.

You’ll catch some nice Connecticut woodsy scenery. I am attracted to the spare-finely focused movies of Ang Lee, but be warned–this is a brooding, gloomy movie, so it may not be for you.

I found the party scene where everyone throws their car keys in a bowl and goes home with somebody else’s spouse, to be hilarious. Although I was never caught in THAT particular scenario, I lived through that period in the late sixties when everybody was trying really, really hard to be grown-up by being hip and sexually adventurous. It was as difficult for adults to suddenly have different measurements of what it meant to be adult as it is for teens to figure out how deep they want to wade from the comfort of childhood into the  the scary waters of adulthood.

So what has this to do with a road trip?  Not a lot. Just a reminder that every state has many facets, and the commuter culture of Connecticut is important to recognize. New York has kind of overrun the state and tried to shake the New England out of it, but there are still patches of woods and ponds and ice storms.

Note: This movie was suggested by a reader to represent CT, and since nobody else countered, I took a look and decided to tell you about it. If you know and love Connecticut, you may have some other ideas–please feel free to share. And of course, if you liked this review and others at A Traveler’s Library, I hope you will subscribe to the RSS feed or Subscribe to our site

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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

11 thoughts on “Dark Movie Shows Stormy Connecticut

  1. I second Melanie’s recommendation about Gilmore Girls. Not a movie, obviously, but I’m a huge fan of the show! When my family visited the WB studios in CA a few years ago, we got a tour of the “Stars Hollow” set. Pretty cool!
    .-= Susan Johnton hopes you will read blog ..Guest Post: How To Write a Memorable Bio =-.

  2. I hate to say it, but how bout the show The Gilmore Girls? When I was last in Connecticut, some friends who live in New Haven told me about the town that’s the real “Stars Hollow” from the beloved TV show, and my girls were dying to go find it. We weren’t able to spare the time, and now I can’t remember the name, but I was told it was a perfect little example of small town rural Connecticut life, which is why the producers picked it.

    1. Donna: Ice Storms are gorgeous–as long as you don’t have to drive anywhere.

      I’m not doing a very logical trip, if you look at the road map, but next week is Vermont–Then Maine. After New England come the middle Atlantic states, and I have not decided on books for PA, DE, MD yet. Suggestions welcome.

  3. Vera, It’s me who suggested this movie. It’s a favorite of mine. And of course, since I live in Connecticut, every time I go to the town where it was filmed, I can’t get it out of my mind.

    PS. Those key parties – agreed that is such an apt example of the attempts to be so cool and uninhibited in the 60s!

  4. I’ve never heard of this movie, so thanks for making me aware of it. I’d never heard that quote from Least Heat Moon, but I think he is so right. I have the travel bug in a bad, bad way and it’s definitely genetic – my grandparents traveled the world and my parents are trying to.

  5. First, I have to say that I am really enjoying this road trip especially with the tie-in blogs from Music Road. It’s been ages since I’ve seen Ice Storm so I think it’ll be fun to check it out again with emphasis on the scenery. In thinking about the New Yorkers who have made parts of CT their bedroom communities I am reminded of The Stepford Wives. As a kid this was my impression of CT until I got a chance to visit the state.

    Thanks for bringing back great memories of my trips to Connecticut. I am looking forward to the next stop on our road trip.

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