The Door In The Floor

"Good"

The Door In The Floor Review


Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger give a pair of extraordinary performances in "The Door in the Floor" as a couple whose souls and whose marriage have never recovered from the deaths of their teenage sons six years before.

Their lives are like broken teacups glued back together -- they may look undamaged from a distance, but up close it's clear they're now made up of psychological shatters and shards that can never be the same again.

Not that they haven't tried to move forward. Hoping to retard their overwhelming sense of loss, they even had a daughter -- played by 6-year-old Elle Fanning, the not-quite-as-natural little sister of uber-talented 8-year-old Dakota ("Man On Fire") -- who seems to subconsciously understand her function in the family.

The film opens with the kind of subtly captivating, fact-of-life moment that defines its emotional timbre: The curious, melancholy little girl sneaks out of bed in what seems to be a midnight ritual, quietly drags a chair across a wooden floor and climbs up to study one of several dozen artful black-and-white photos hung in a hallway shrine to the dead brothers she never knew -- this one a sanguine shot of the boys at just about her own age.

But as writer-director Tod Williams ("The Adventures of Sebastian Cole") soon reveals in this adaptation from part of John Irving's "Widow for One Year," this family of broken china is starting to come unglued.

Bridges plays Ted Cole, a Hampton-bohemian best-selling author and illustrator of dark, esoteric, metaphorical children's books. He's a dog-eared man whose untreated, unfocused antipathy has begun to emerge in his increasingly vitriolic nude paintings of local married women, with whom he has quiet affairs and then discards unceremoniously.

Basinger is his wife Marion, who is disappearing into a fog of lingering sorrow and instability until Ted hires an assistant he doesn't really need -- a admiring and nervously polite, 18-year-old aspiring author named Eddie (Jon Foster, younger brother of "Liberty Height's" Ben Foster), whose transparent sexual obsession with Marion rekindles something in her shifting psyche.

Jealousy and bitterness, forgotten tenderness and echoing heartbreak percolate under the couple's level-headed surface in ways that may lead to healing -- or may be disastrous -- as Eddie becomes a pawn in their trial separation. But he's also coming into his own as a person to be reckoned with, more aware of the costs of this rift than either Ted or Marion.

The many rich facets of the characters are what fuel the film's absorbing intelligence and depth -- especially the evolving dynamic between Ivy-League-bound Eddie and functionally off-kilter, caftan-disheveled Ted as they move from mentor and admirer to testing each other's mettle. In one scene Ted explains that he's throwing Eddie out of the house, then offers him a friendly beer while further stating that he won't be giving the kid a lift to the ferry. This dichotomy of affection is part of how their relationship functions, and each of the film's characters has vulnerabilities that are in constant flux.

"The Door in the Floor" hits a couple narrative bumps that break its stride a little -- especially in the progression of Marion's uncomfortable affair with young Eddie, whom she uses as a lover and a surrogate son. The liaison begins so awkwardly it's borderline absurd and progresses through some bad choices that are irresponsible at best, unbelievable at worst. But even this is based in character: Marion is in such a peculiar, fragile place emotionally that her indulgence of Eddie is in many ways both therapeutic and self-destructive.

Most satisfying (although that may be a bad choice of words) is that the story does not come to a tidy resolution, but rather, like both real life and Ted Cole's odd kids' books, leaves one wondering, for better or worse, what lies in its characters' futures.



The Door In The Floor

Facts and Figures

Run time: 111 mins

In Theaters: Friday 17th September 2004

Box Office USA: $3.6M

Distributed by: Focus Features

Production compaines: Revere Pictures, Focus Features

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 94 Rotten: 47

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Ted Cole, as Marion Cole, as Ruth Cole, as Eddie O'Hare

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Advertisement
Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.