Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Title:The Door In The Floor
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Kim Basinger, Jon Foster, Elle Fanning, Mimi Rogers, Bijou Philips
Director: Tod Williams

Ted and Marion Cole (Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger) are having marital problems. After the death of their two sons, the couple moved, and had a new child, all attempts to bring them back together, to fill the gaps. However Ruth (Elle Fanning) is now 4 years old, brought up almost solely on the tales of her dead brothers. In the meantime her mother becomes increasingly distant and withdrawn, while her father drinks heavily and is something of a womaniser.

Into this steps Eddie O'Hare, son of a family friend, a young student at the college where the Cole's sons were in attendance. Ted Cole is a successful author, particularly of children's books, and Eddie is keen to learn something from him over the course of the summer. But rather than learning about writing he is really there to drive the banned Ted from conquest to conquest, while distracting Marion. Of course this is a difficult situation for a young man to find himself in, especially when he finds himself attracted to Marion.

Bridges and Basinger are very much on form and play these emotive parts well. Foster like his character is landed between these two, and manages to keep on his toes as he attempts to keep up. This is the first role for Elle Fanning, sister of Dakota Fanning (Man On Fire, Hide And Seek, War Of The Worlds), who plays the 4 year old daughter of the Cole's - something which is a curious role, especially in this context. Mimi Rodgers appears as one of Bridges' conquests, and Bijou Philips has a small role as Ruth's babysitter.

The Door In The Floor is the latest film to be adapted from work by the writer John Irving, who was also responsible for The Cider House Rules. The Door In The Floor is adapted from a third of the novel A Widow For One Year. The result is something of a mixed bag, contrasting comedy and tragedy, mid life crisis with coming of age. The young Eddie manages to slide from one excruciatingly embarrassing scenario to another for the first half of the film. This culminates in a certain absurdity and farce as Ted's actions peak. Resolving with a certain bleakness, as the truth that has hovered below the surface comes to the fore along with the realisation of how the future is going to be shaped.

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