The Door in the Floor


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Rating: R

Elle Fanning as Ruth Cole
Jeff Bridges as Ted Cole
Kim Basinger as Marion Cole
Jon Foster as Eddie O’Hare
Larry Pine as Interviewer
John Rothman as Minty O’Hare
Harvey Loomis as Dr. Loomis
Bijou Phillips as Alice
Mimi Rogers as Evelyn Vaughn
Mike S. Ryan as Reception Fan
Libby Langdon as Woman at Reception
Louis Arcella as Eduardo Gomez
Robert LuPone as Mendelssohn

Special Features:
Commentary by filmmaker Tod Williams and production crew

“From Novel to Screen” – featurette on author John Irving

Episode of Anatomy of a Scene

Making-of featurette

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French Language
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

The following is from the DVD cover:

“Four-time Academy Award nominee Jeff Bridges and Academy Award winner Kim Basinger give stellar performances in this critically acclaimed film, adapted from the #1 best-selling novel, A Widow for One Year, by Academy Award winner John Irving.

The Door in the Floor chronicles one pivotal summer in the lives of famous children’s book author Ted Cole (Jeff Bridges) and his beautiful wife, Marion (Kim Basinger). It is a provocative story about one couples emotional journey into a world of daring sensuality and stunning honesty.”

The Door in the Floor is rated R for strong sexuality and graphic images, and language.

The Movie:
A Door in the Floor is just one of those movies that had a great cast, good writing, and beautiful cinematography, yet I didn’t enjoy it simply because of the subject matter. It all came down to a matter of personal taste for me with this movie. The film didn’t have any characters that were terribly likable and the story focuses on the eventual destruction of their marriage. I didn’t find the torture and depression of the characters to be entertaining. I also found the nudity in the film to be unnecessary in getting the point of the story across. There is a little bit of humor thrown in here and there to lighten up the dark tone of the film, but not enough to make me recommend it.

As already mentioned, the cast is excellent. I’ve always liked Jeff Bridges and that’s no exception in this film. He manages to make Ted Cole interesting even if he’s a manipulator and a womanizer. He is a children’s book writer in the film, but his book hardly seems like a story I’d be reading to my kids. Cole is quite eccentric and quite a contrast to the shy and reserved Jon Foster as Eddie O’Hare. Eddie goes through quite a transformation in the movie from a guy who can barely look someone in the eye to a man who stands up to Ted in a final confrontation. Then there’s Kim Basinger as Marion Cole, the most tortured soul in the film. Her grief over the death of her teenage sons overwhelms her. Unfortunately she’s generally depressed through the whole movie and there’s very little apparent reason for Eddie to be attracted to her beyond her good looks. Young Elle Fanning is good as Ruth Cole, but her character ends up being the real victim of the movie as she’s caught among the breakup of her parents.

As much as I didn’t care for the movie, I will say that I was curious about what happened next with all of the characters. It just so happens that this movie only covers the first third of the John Irving novel that the story came from. If you’re interested in finding out more about the characters, you can pick up the book and see the rest of the story.

I would really only recommend this movie to fans of John Irving, people that like dark character dramas, and fans of Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger. If you’re looking for a drama with a happy ending, this isn’t it.

The Extras:
There are a number of bonus features included on this DVD:

Commentary by filmmaker Tod Williams and production crew – The commentary is a little dry since it is delivered by members of the crew. They get into details about how the film was shot, the challenges of shooting the movie, etc.

“From Novel to Screen” – featurette on author John Irving – You always hear about how authors hate it when Hollywood adapts their novels, but Irving shows that he’s right in the middle of it. Since he has had his books like The World According To Garp and Cider House Rules adapted, he knows just how much to get involved. Irving’s technique of approaching adaptation is quite interesting to hear and it makes a lot of sense. He talks about adding to the source material, departing from it, and more.

Episode of Anatomy of a Scene – If you’ve seen an episode of this series then you know how excellent it is. They go into great detail about a specific scene of a film from the writing to the shooting to the editing, etc. If you’re interested in filmmaking then this is required viewing for you.

Making-of featurette – This is your standard “making of” featurette talking about how they adapted the novel, how they cast the film, where they shot, etc. There’s a lot of behind the scenes footage and interviews with the cast and crew.

The Bottom Line:
The Door in the Floor is a character drama more for those into art house films, John Irving novels, and fans of Kim Basinger and Jeff Bridges.