Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Feature commentary. Behind the
scenes. Novel To Screen: John Irving. Anatomy of a Scene.
JEFF Bridges delivers another masterful performance in this heartfelt
tale of love, loss and repressed guilt, based on the classic novel
by John Irving.
He stars as children's book author and illustrator, Ted Cole,
a man still struggling to deal with the death of his two sons
in a car accident, who seeks solace in booze and the rich New
York wives who live near his estate in the Hamptons.
Estranged from his wife, Marion (Kim Basinger), Ted resolves
to hire Eddie (Jon Foster) as an assistant, believing his presence
might ease the burden on his family (including their remaining
daughter, Ruth, played by Elle Fanning), but mainly because the
16-year-old resembles his eldest son and might help Marion seek
But far from easing the strain, Eddie's presence threatens to
shatter the Coles' fragile existence, forcing each family member
to confront their grief as well as any guilt they may shoulder.
Matters are complicated still further when Marion begins an affair
with Eddie, after becoming flattered by the boy's awkward crush
Directed by Tod Williams, The Door In The Floor isn't always
easy to watch and revels in its ability to challenge viewers into
forming their own opinion of each characters' actions and motives.
But it is driven by some majestic
performances as well as some wonderful moments of black humour.
Williams, especially, defines himself as a director to watch,
having written to Irving personally to request the rights to the
movie, and then taking the bold decision to shed the last two-thirds
of the book and concentrate solely on the first 183 pages.
As such, the film isn't hindered by the epic scope of the book
and allows itself the time to concentrate on the emotions of all
the characters concerned, including those of young Ruth (probably
the most innocent of all the characters), who is remarkably played
by young Miss Fanning (sister of Dakota).
Williams deserves credit, too, for never allowing proceedings
to become too heavy-handed or manipulative, preferring instead
to let his actors do the work and his viewers to arrive at their
As a result, The Door In The Floor possesses an almost hypnotic
quality, even during its most shocking moments - as in the scene
where Ruth walks in on her mother having sex with Eddie, or when
Marion catches Eddie masturbating over her lingerie.
None of it feels voyeuristic or exploitative, however, which
is crucial in allowing the film to work in its own right, and
which serves to keep audiences on their toes.
The result is a poignant, moving and thought-provoking piece
of cinema that remains with you long after Williams has closed
his own door in the floor.