The Door in the Floor

John Irving is a fantastic writer--one of my favorites, in fact--but the film adaptations of his books always seem to lack something. The movie version of The Hotel New Hampshire captured some of the ridiculous quality of Irving's writing, but was pretty lacking apart from that. The Cider House Rules was pretty good, but it didn't seem to have the right feel. The Door in the Floor is another story entirely. Irving calls it the most faithful film translation of any of his books, and watching it, it's easy to see why. The movie perfectly represents the somewhat silly, somewhat magical feeling that Irving always puts in his novels. Jeff Bridges is one of my favorite actors, and his performance as Ted Cole balanced all of the facets of a character who is at once egotistical and self-loathing, a selfish man but a caring father. Jon Foster was also good, managing a subtle teenage performance that seems to totally lack pretention. And this may be Kim Basinger's best work ever. One of the best movies I've seen this year, it also leaves room for me to discover more, because it only covers the first third of the book it's based on (A Widow for One Year). I can't wait to read it.

Viewed: 7/15/2004 | Released: 6/17/2004 | Score: A

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