IT WAS 1973, AND THE CLIMATE WAS CHANGING.
After the romantic intrigues of Sense and Sensibility (1995), director Ang Lee gave us something equally human but colder. We’re drawn into the relationships between teenagers and adults, families who gather in the suburbs in 1973 over the Thanksgiving weekend. The kids explore their sexuality and early, confusing feelings, and for the grownups it’s all about looking for kicks, which eventually comes in the shape of a key party. But the film also deals with deeper emotions and their value. Very well acted, with a terrific feel for the 1970s details. The ending is heartbreaking, but the story struggles to tie its sentiments to a deeper meaning.
1997-U.S. 113 min. Color. Produced by Ted Hope, Ang Lee, James Schamus. Directed by Ang Lee. Screenplay: James Schamus. Novel: Rick Moody. Cast: Kevin Kline (Ben Hood), Joan Allen (Elena Hood), Sigourney Weaver (Janey Carver), Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, Henry Czerny… Tobey Maguire, Katie Holmes, Allison Janney.
Trivia: Natalie Portman was allegedly considered for a role.
BAFTA: Best Supporting Actress (Weaver). Cannes: Best Screenplay.
Last word: “When [Ang Lee says] that something happened in ’73 that has brought us to where we are today… We were just falling apart as a family. Maybe Ang was more able to see that, coming from another country. To me, Elvis finally caught up to the middle-class by the early ’70s – finally caught up with them and everything started to unravel from the 50s and the post-war period. And that’s something I’ve been able to see much better having been in the film. Being from outside America Ang could perhaps see it more clearly.” (Weaver, Film Scouts)