Review: ‘What Breaks The Ice’

A Sluggish '90s Coming-Of-Age Tale That Leaves No Room For Any Excitement

What Breaks the Ice is a film about two girls who are from very different worlds. They form a deep and unlikely friendship in the summer of 1998 and set against the backdrop of when the world was consumed by the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Their fun and carefree days quickly turn cold as they find themselves at the center of a mysterious murder. The film takes a powerful look at female friendship and is challenged by an event that will forever change their lives.

Emily (Madelyn Cline, Outer Banks, Knives Out 2) is from a wealthy family and is vacationing with her family for the summer. Sammy (Sofia Hublitz, Ozark) is born and raised in the town for which the rich family’s vacation. The two instantly connect when it’s realized that they both have similar interests and can be real with each other. The girls are having the best summer of their lives until Sammy’s step brother, Travis (Joel Allen, The Purge) and his friends come around and beg the girls to go party. Sammy is reluctant to hang out with Travis however, Emily, who wants to lose her virginity, is eager to hang out with him. Sammy wants to have fun even though it’s clearly obvious that being around her step-brother is awkward and uncomfortable. Despite her reservations, she and Emily attend a local party. A lot of alcohol and drugs later, their night takes an unexpected turn for the worse.

Directed by Rebecca Eskreis, this coming-of-age film brings all the 90’s nostalgia feels of being a teenager in the 90’s. Even dawning a 90’s like trailer, What Breaks the Ice showcases the details of clothing styles right out of a Delia’s catalog, koosh balls, and choker necklaces. Cline and Hublitz have phenomenal chemistry that really captures the true essence of their on-screen friendship and turmoil. Their story is reminiscent of the epic novel, The Great Gatsby but the better written parts by Zelda Fitzgerald herself. There’s a sluggish and/or mellow mood that is steady and deeply reflective throughout the film. Although a decent story with obvious twists and turns, it comes across as a depressing drag. Not a bad film but is disappointing as it has no “wow”  or stand out factor either. Starring Lukas Gage (The White Lotus), Catherine Curtin (Homeland), Aimee Mullins (Stranger Things), and Shakira Barrera (GLOW).

What Breaks The Ice releases in Theaters and on Digital October 1st.