Projections - Movie Reviews

The Door in the Floor
The Door in the Floor
Starring Jeff Bridges, Kim Basinger, Mimi Rogers,
Bijou Phillips, Elle Fanning, Jon Foster

Writer-director Tod Williams perceptively condenses John Irving’s best selling novel “A Window For One Year” into The Door In The Floor, a melancholic, provocative film bristling with emotion and complex characters.

The first third of the book is covered with lyricism and wit in diminishing the role of ruth Cole, and affected Elle Fanning, young sister of Dakota. In the book, Ruth, the youngest of the Coles, served as the narrator for a span of five decades. But, the film adaptation puts her in a tumultuous summer within a East Hampton family struggling with the tragic loss of two boys.

Their parents, Ted and Marion Cole, are handling the grieving process differently. Ted, acted with unorthodox verve by Jeff Bridges, is a celebrated children’s author and illustrator, as well as a philanderer. Marion appears unable to get out of a shell of devastation. The family disintegration has accelerated the maturation process for the 4-year old Ruth in the house by the sea as her parents undergo a trial separation.

Newcomer Jon Foster, who displays much tenacity throughout The Door In The Floor, is Eddie O’Hare, a 16-year-old hired by Ted to help him on his latest work. Eddie is enamored by Marion, and his deep infatuation awakens her from a long period of sexual hibernation.

Williams gets to the heart of the matter of what ails the Coles and what they need without any easy solutions. The underpinnings involving life and death relate similarly to prestigious pictures like In The Bedroom and The Sweet Hereafter. Perhaps the dynamics concerning Ted, Marion, and Eddie isn’t always on firm ground despite the strong affection for these damaged characters by the performers.

Bridges dares to let himself go though and his highly engaging uninhibited portrait while he holds it all together. Basinger convincingly explores the many sides of a woman trying to regain an emotional balance. She helps unveil the film’s sensual mood, and can exhibit delicacy in a potentially eruptive moment. And, the little visible Mimi Rogers as a needy model for Ted’s project and indiscretions turns in bold support.

There are some effective scenes between Bridges and Foster, as the dialogue is faithful to Irving’s rich text, as one begins to ruminate on the meaning behind the odd title. And this domestic, free-spirited drama is hardly treacly as the coastline area is beautifully lensed and is graced by a thoughtful, gently moody score.

The Door in the Floor

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