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Plot: Homer is an orphan in remote St. Cloud, Maine. Never adopted, he becomes the favorite of orphanage director Dr. Larch, who imparts his full medical knowledge on Homer, who becomes a skilled, albeit unlicensed, physician. But Homer yearns for a self-chosen life outside the orphanage. When Wally and pregnant Candy visit the orphanage Dr. Larch provides medically safe, albeit illegal, abortions Homer leaves with them to work on Wally's family apple farm. Wally goes off to war, leaving Homer and Candy alone together. What will Homer learn about life and love in the cider house? What of the destiny that Dr. Larch has planned for him? Runtime: 126 mins Release Date: 06 Jan 1999
Nineteen ninety-nine was an outstanding year for adaptations of major literary works, but of all the great books that came to the screen last year, this is my favorite. John Irving's novel and adaptation is one of the most complete stories I can remember in many years. It is poignant, exhilarating, and astutely human in its scope, presenting a myriad of human emotions and experiences.Often, when a story attempts to cross genres so broadly, it fails from lack of depth or insufficiency of the writer or director to meet the variable demands of such a wide-ranging treatment. This film was a <more>
comedy, a tragedy, a romance, a human-interest story, a character study, and a period piece, and each element was excellently done.This was all accomplished without sacrificing the philosophical and emotional depth Irving imbues in all his works. Irving weaves a strong moral into this story; that rules need to be questioned and that being human is not so easily codified. He revisits this theme repeatedly, with each character facing dilemmas regarding societal and personal rules that are difficult to reconcile in the given situations.If there is one thing that stands out about this story, it is its human realism. These are ordinary people struggling with problems we all face. We come to have affection for almost all of them, and can identify with their tribulations. Although the story is excessively sentimental and fatalistic, it reminds us that life is complicated and doesn't always turn out the way we plan or hope. From a filmmaking perspective, we could not have asked more from Lasse Hallstrom. Known most in the U.S. for his direction of What's Eating Gilbert Grape', Hallstrom has been making wonderful films in Europe for almost twenty years. However, this film will certainly go down as his finest work. In the featurette on the DVD, he said that when he goes to Blockbuster with his daughter and sees it on the shelf, he will have a feeling of pride; and well he should.This motion picture was beautifully filmed with rich cinematography, breathtaking locations, and precise period props and costumes. However, the greatest achievement for Hallstrom, working in concert with Irving, was to orchestrate a large cast in such a way that no character seemed insignificant. Hallstrom took great care to do enough development of each character often just visually without any dialogue that he made us care for each of them. He gave the film an emotional depth and breadth that is difficult to achieve in two hours. His work with the children in the orphanage was superb, bringing forth their innocence and enthusiasm without minimizing their plight.The acting was uniformly outstanding. Tobey Maguire infused Homer with the right combination of idealism, naiveté and inner strength to make him an unassuming but powerful lead. Charlize Theron continues to impress me with her acting ability. Besides her enchanting girl-next-door attractiveness, she showed terrific range in a character that at first seemed shallow, but later proved to be quite complex.Michael Caine has had a legendary career spanning close to half a century. He has long been one of my favorite actors. His performance here was powerful and well deserving of the acclaim he received. Dr. Larch was an extremely complex character; egotistical, self-abusive, manipulative and recalcitrant, yet a saintly, self-sacrificing and loving crusader for the good of the children. Caine's ability to span that range was remarkable.Finally, I have the highest praise for Delroy Lindo as Mr. Rose, the orchard foreman. Lindo's bright smile and enthusiasm created a rock solid character with charm, strength and simple wisdom. He captures our admiration immediately, and despite his despicable act, we cannot help but pity him in the end.After having seen all the films that were nominated by the Academy for best picture last year, I have to say that this was my personal favorite. It wasn't as flashy as the rest; in fact, this was downright old fashioned in its approach. They just don't write stories like this anymore, and that's a shame. I rated it a 10/10. In its quiet way, it captured my heart.
The Best I have seen in a long time... (by mollyflow)
Some movies you enjoy at the theater once and then forget them. This film is one that you do not soon forget. Tobey Maguire has got to be one of the most gifted actors I have ever seen. His portrayal of Homer Wells is compelling. This movie will take you in during the very first scenes and won't let you go. When it's over you don't want to leave them all behind. Have you ever been so engrossed in a movie you don't realize what's going on around you. Cider House Rules is one of those rare films to come along and totally involve you in their lives. Maguire and Theron are <more>
wonderful along with the whole cast. Can't wait to see what other gifts Maguire gives us on the screen in the future.
"Cider House Rules" is the best translation of a novel to film that I've ever seen. It must help that the novelist adapts his own work and writes the screenplay. This novel is a large, complex work with many characters and sub-plots. It would have been easy for the screenwriter to become bogged down in details and losing their way. Irving doesn't. He grabs at the major thematic thread and defines an engrossing tale of growing up and discovering one's self and one's calling. Set in rural Maine during World War II we follow Homer Wells, adolescent ward of an orphanage <more>
run by Dr. Larch. Visually it's a dark foreboding place, put emotionally full of love and happiness, excepting the sad women who trek to the orphanage to unburden themselves of their pregnancies, either by adoption or illegal abortion. Dr. Larch helps with both. Dr. Larch has also provided Homer with an education in practical obstetrics that would be the envy of any medical school. I don't want to go on further with the plot, it's a sweeping tale told with great acting, camera work, and scoring.What worries me about this near perfect film is that my views are colored by having first read the novel. The characters and locations in the movie are exactly as I visualized them. It's spooky. And this provides me with information to fill in gaps about the character's motives and drives. How big a hindrance is not having read the book? I hope not much, because I feel this is one of the best movies of 1999.
This film has all the ingredients to turn out as simply magnificent. Michael Caine works his usual brilliance, Charlize Theron is gorgeous and believable, and Toby Maguire grows up both on the film and off. The Rachel Portman score is both haunting and comforting throughout the film and is the perfect "back drop" to fall in New England.The story is about much more that the question of morality. I believe it is about life and experiences and seeing what you never saw before, yet always leaving your heart at home. It's about bonds we break, bonds we keep, and the pains of growing <more>
up. Not only is this a "picturesque" fall film, but one of those rare films that will keep you up thinking about the characters, their beliefs, and your own.This is one of the few gems coming out of film in the last few years and I highly recommend it.
Top 5 Film Class Movies: The #1 Film (by jmille42)
We've made it, my number one favorite film from class, The Cider House Rules. The story of Dr. Wilbur Larch Michael Caine , the head physician of an orphanage in Maine who takes an "unwanted" orphan named Homer Wells Tobey Maguire under his wing. As Homer grows older, he begins to question what life is like outside of the orphanage. Although he is training to become a doctor under the watchful eye of Larch, Homer decides to leave the orphanage with Candy Charlize Theron and Wally Paul Rudd , a young couple looking to secretly have an abortion. Homer discovers love, <more>
friendship, and the all too familiar heartbreak in life outside of the orphanage where he has spent his entire life.Larch's big plans for Homer to take over for him at the orphanage are derailed as Homer begins the hard labor of apple picking, where he encounters the cider house rules, a set of guidelines for the migrant workers to abide by as they are a guest in the shelter provided for them. Homer along with the other workers start to realize that they are able to set their own rules for life as they seem to break every rule without consequence. One of my favorite scenes is when the migrant workers find out Homer is a trained Doctor, needing him to perform an abortion. Anyone who has seen the film knows Homer's moral dilemma when it comes to abortion on numerous occasions he displays his thanks to the mother he never knew for having him , but in the end he breaks his own rules.I have so much respect for the author and screenwriter for the film, Academy Award winning John Irving. I was able to read his novel, My Movie Business, which goes into detail about his hard journey in getting this to the big screen. Irving's number one goal with this story is to show the relationship between Dr. Larch and Homer, a pair that begins to drift away from one another as Homer grows older. Larch plays the role of the clingy father figure who does not want to lose his only "son." The story works to the level that boys will become men, no matter how hard it is as a parent to accept it. In the end, the Cider House Rules shows there is no escaping destiny, no matter how bad you want to.
Like I said, one of Michael Caine's finest pictures. Though, I happen to feel that Sleuth is his ultimate film appearance, I can wholeheartedly recommend Cider House Rules to any fan of decent film.
Funny, moving, incredibly well-done (by preppy-3)
I didn't think it was possible, but one of John Irving's most difficult books was condensed by the author himself the last third of the book is gone into a very very good movie. All the acting is great especially the nice low key performances by Macguire and Caine , BEAUTIFULLY shot in Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts , a score that fits the movie like a glove and fully realized three-dimensional characters. Plot-wise there's nothing new young man goes out to see the world, discovers himself, etc etc but the cast makes it seem new. They all find depth in roles that have been <more>
done before--especially Caine who speaks with a very convincing Maine accent! Bring lots of tissues with you--the movie is sad and disturbing at points all kept in the PG-13 rating however , but it has a happy ending. Well worth seeing. See it on a BIG screen--all the beautiful shoots won't work on TV.
Despite the various good reviews of the movie, I was a bit skeptical about the movie due to the fact that it was based on a John Irving novel. What I found was a warm, sweet film, that was well cast and proved to be unpredictable just when it appeared you had it figured out. Tobey Maguire gives an excellent performance as a man/boy seeking his place in the world. He is supported by an excellent cast, particularly Michael Caine, despite a number of "accent" lapses. Even though they were relegated to small roles, it was great to see Jane Alexander and Kate Nelligan on the big screen <more>
once again. Charlize Theron continues to show that she is not only beautiful, but can act in a wide range of roles as well. Interesting casting as well in using Hip-Hop/R&B artists, Erykah Badu and Heavy D in small, but important parts.The movie was a wonderful mix of laughter, tears, and human emotion, and magnificently directed by Halle Lasström. Kudos to all those involved.
Sometimes you must break rules to straighten the situation. (by michaelRokeefe)
This movie will be looked at from many different views. I forgot about race and religion and watched a very good movie about the human condition. John Irving did the screenplay of his own novel. A young boy, played by Tobey Maguire, is born and raised in an orphanage. He is taught the ways of childbirth and abortion by the headmaster, Dr. Larch, played by Michael Caine. The young boy wants to be more useful in life and goes on his own way to end up working in an apple orchard and learning about lobster fishing.The Maguire boy/man character fights with his own morals and lack of worldliness as <more>
the movie progresses. The predictable ending probably couldn't have been any better. Life happens. Bad things often happen to good people. This movie does question your thoughts of humanity.I found raw emotion, humor and tenderness in this movie. The story is set in Maine; but actually filmed in Vermont and Connecticut too. Scenery is awesome. Maguire's timid, monotone character does take some getting used to. Caine was very good. Charlize Theron proved that not only is she beautiful, but she can act as well. Erykah Badu did extremely well in a small, but important role. This movie is worthy of its many Oscar nominations.