offoffoff film



Site links
  • Contact us

    Get our newsletter:
    Search the site:

    Film section
  • Film main page
  • Film archive
  • Audio index
  • Film links

    Top 10 lists

  • Top 10 films of 2004
    (Andrea, David, Joshua, Leslie)
  • Top 10 films of 2003
    (Andrea, David, Joshua, Leslie)
  • Top 10 films of 2002
  • Top 10 films of 2001
  • Top 10 films of 2000
  • Top 10 films of 1999
  •  All of our top 10 lists, 1999 - 2004

    Current movies

  • Afterschool
  • Antichrist
  • Babies
  • Broken Embraces
  • Dare
  • District 9
  • The End of Poverty?
  • Fix
  • Food Beware
  • The Men Who Stare at Goats
  • Pirate Radio
  • Precious
  • Red Cliff
  • The September Issue


  • Brooklyn International Film Festival
  • Human Rights Watch Film Festival
  • New York Film Festival


    Complete archive

    Recent reviews:
  • (500) Days of Summer
  • Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer
  • The Art of the Steal
  • The Beetle
  • Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh
  • Boy A
  • Brideshead Revisited
  • The Brothers Bloom
  • Burn After Reading
  • Cold Souls
  • The Duchess
  • Elegy
  • Enlighten Up! A Skeptic's Journey Into the World of Yoga
  • Five Minutes of Heaven
  • Flame and Citron
  • Frozen River
  • Happy-Go-Lucky
  • How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
  • The Human Condition
  • Hunger
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • King of Shadows
  • The Lemon Tree
  • Lorna's Silence
  • A Man Named Pearl
  • Man on Wire
  • Memorial Day
  • Mister Foe
  • Morning Light
  • My FĆ¼hrer
  • My One and Only
  • Paris
  • The Pervert's Guide to Cinema
  • Peter and Vandy
  • Police, Adjective
  • Pray the Devil Back to Hell
  • Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind
  • Rachel Getting Married
  • A Secret
  • Sleep Dealer
  • St. Trinian's
  • Thirst
  • Throw Down Your Heart
  • Valentino: The Last Emperor
  • What's the Matter with Kansas?
  • Wild Grass
  • Jay DiPietro


    The Door in the Floor


    With an emotional impact even more focused than the John Irving novel it's based on, "The Door in the Floor" perfectly strikes notes of love, grief, guilt and mistrust.


    "Specific details." That's what makes a great writer great according to the grizzled Ted Cole (Jeff Bridges), a successful children's author and sometime pornographic artist speaking to his summer intern Eddie O'Hare (Jon Foster) off the coast of Long Island during one hazy Hamptons summer, a summer that will prove pivotal to both men in "The Door in the Floor."

    Written and directed by: Tod Williams.
    Adapted from the novel "A Widow for One Year" by: John Irving.
    Cast: Elle Fanning, Jeff Bridges, Kim Basinger, Jon Foster, Larry Pine, John Rothman, Harvey Loomis, Bijou Phillips, Mimi Rogers.
    Cinematography: Terry Stacey.
    Edited by: Affonso Gon¨alves.

    Related links: Official site | All of David N. Butterworth's reviews at Rotten Tomatoes
    Specific details such as a distant sounding car alarm; an unseen racquetball echoing off the deadening walls of a converted barn; a soft pink sweater worn that first day; the color and unambiguous smell of squid ink; and, although we're never quite served a close-up, many bare picture hooks left hanging from many bare walls. By turns it's these specific details that make writer/director Tod Williams's film (based on the best-selling novel "A Widow for One Year" by John Irving and named for one of his protagonist's juvenile publications) so special.

    The Door in the Floor  
    Minty O'Hare's 16-year-old son has come to work for Ted at a difficult time. A poseur artiste who pronounces himself "an entertainer of children who also likes to draw" and dresses and undresses with equal abandon, Ted and his longtime wife Marion (Kim Basinger) are separating. "Temporarily" according to Ted, who's initiating the split.

    Devastated by the death of their two teenage sons, a resultantly near-comatose Marion has abandoned all hope of ever feeling alive again. Ted, partly in response and partly due to his being Ted, has taken to sleeping with the women he sketches (a gutsy Mimi Rogers plays his latest subject, Mrs. Vaughn) and Eddie, of course, soon becomes inappropriately infatuated with the fragile, beautiful Marion, beginning with her underwear.

    Driving home one night Ted thanks Eddie for being so nice to Marion, and Eddie's guilty expression makes no secret of just how nice he's been to her (and she him). Recognizing this, Ted dutifully grinds Eddie to fine powder (his words) on the racquetball court. The unspoken word often speaks volumes in "The Door in the Floor"; it's a key to the film's peculiar power.

      The Door in the Floor
    Adapting a voluminous John Irving tome for the screen is never an easy task since the author is well known for complex storylines ripe with richly drawn characters. In tackling Irving's 1998 novel, however, Williams has a distinct advantage since the book is structured as three distinct sections featuring daughter Ruth (nicely played here by Dakota Fanning's younger sister Elle) and the director elects to adapt the first third only, one that concentrates on the relationship between Ted, Marion, and Eddie. This allows the film to rise above its obvious pitfalls and emerge as a surprisingly intelligent rendition that, in addition, is beautifully photographed and sparingly scored.

    Like the better big screen Irvings ("The World According to Garp" and "The Cider House Rules"), casting proves critical and all employed here are at the top of their game, including Oscar-worthy performances from Basinger and Bridges and a none-too-shabby one from Foster (Ben's younger sibling).

    I've read the book and the film feels just right. It exquisitely establishes the time and the place; it paints flawed, troubled individuals with limited coping skills; it's patient, subtle, and restrained, enjoying the specific details of its own quieter, contemplative moments. And finally it devastates us, much as its protagonists, by the overwhelming power of grief.

    JULY 19, 2004

    Reader comments on The Door in the Floor:

  • The Door in the Floor   from Serge J. Masholie, Jul 29, 2004
  • Re: The Door in the Floor   from Gigi jones, Jul 31, 2004
  • Dpor in the Floor   from , Aug 8, 2004
  • Door in the Floor   from , Aug 8, 2004
  • the ending   from Maryanne, Aug 8, 2004
  • Re: the ending   from , Aug 12, 2004
  • Re: the ending   from Ames, Feb 22, 2006
  • Re: the ending   from curbfaninkc, Jul 27, 2006
  • Re: the ending   from alphachapmtl, Jan 30, 2008
  • fantastic   from PDE, Jul 8, 2005
  • Kim's Love Scenes   from Kevin, Feb 13, 2006
  • Saw the movie for the 1st time on cable   from curbfaninkc, Jul 27, 2006

  • Post a comment on "The Door in the Floor"