Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Adaptation (2002) R - 3½ Stars

This movie really gives you a different perspective at looking at life. Meryl Streep is such a wonderfully adaptive actress and here she plays a writer for The New Yorker who discovers passion in an unlikely source. Nicolas Cage has a hard role to pull off, playing two different characters as twin brothers and I must say, he does a great job. Though the movie lost my interest a few times, with it's many slow turns, it's hard to stay focused on other characters besides Streep's. But, it did manage to pull me back in quickly. For example, it wasn't clear to me at first that Cage even had a twin brother. I was more convinced this second Cage was the conscious of the first one.

Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage) is a screenwriter who just won an academy award for his script, "Being John Malkovich." He is hired to adapt "The Orchid Thief" a nonfictional book about John Laroche (Chris Cooper), a passionate toothless thief who navigates the Florida Everglades stealing Orchids to call his own. Susan Orlean (Meryl Streep) is the author of the book traveling along side John to discover his passion for the flower. This should be the perfect opportunity for Charlie to excel in his work but due to his paranoid nature and major depression, he can't seem to bring words to paper.

Charlie's identical twin brother, Donald Kaufman (Nicolas Cage), comes to town and wants to move in and take after his brother. These two twins couldn't be more different from each other. Donald can easily talk to women, he's overly confident, and can be plain out loud. Donald takes up screen writing, under the tutoring of Robert McKee (Brian Cox), and after finishing a script about a serial killer, his story sells for major bucks, making him the new hot writer in town. This frustrates and depresses Charlie even more. Donald seems to be on top of the world, even landing a new girlfriend Caroline (Maggie Gyllenhaal). This aids to make Charlie struggle more getting his words to paper. Charlie develops an obsession with Susan as he stares at her picture on the books back flap. His passion for Susan grows while Susan develops a passion for John Laroche. When Charlie is given the opportunity to meet Susan face to face, he's too terrified of actually speak to her and sends his brother Donald, in his place. The thought comes to him that he will structure his screen play after his own pathetic life and as the words begin to flow, every one's life will be changed in the process.

Awards include:

2002 - Adaptation - American Film Institute - Top Ten Movie of the Year
2002 - Adaptation - New York Film Critics Circle - Best Screenplay
2002 - Adaptation - Toronto Film Critics Association - Best Picture

Clinica Estetico, Magnet Entertainment, Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group
Director: Spike Jonze
Writers: Donald Kaufman, Charlie Kaufman
Producers: Vincent Landay, Edward Saxon, Jonathan Demme
I viewed 9/09

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