BASED ON THE BEST SELLING NOVEL 'A WINDOW FOR ONE YEAR', THIS FILM CHRONICLES ONE PIVOTAL SUMMER IN THE LIVES OF FAMOUS CHILDREN'S BOOK AUTHOR TED COLE & HIS BEAUTIFUL WIFE MARION. IT IS A PROVOCATIVE STORY ABOUT ONE COUPL... more »E'S EMOTIONAL JOURNEY INTO A WORLD OF DARING SENSUALITY & STUNNING HONESTY.« less
Michel D. (michelann) from WALNUT GROVE, MO Reviewed on 1/15/2012...
This movie was fun! Jeff Bridges can barely keep his clothes on throughout and it's not because of Kim Basinger. The young man, Jon Foster, is the one who gets intimate with Kim and its like Summer of '42 all over again. Movie is fun and especially well written. I highly recommend.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
MONICA M. from SHAWNEE, KS Reviewed on 8/9/2011...
I wanted to watch this many times when it was on HBO this summer but I could never get past the first ten minutes. However when I got the DVD I managed to sit threw and watch this movie more than once.
The movie was not what I expected to be honest, but BETTER!!!
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Deborah A. from SARASOTA, FL Reviewed on 6/26/2010...
A different and interesting movie based on a section of John Irving's book "A Widow for One Year". Because I had read the book, it was difficult not to watch this and compare. Bridges and Basinger weren't the ones I would have cast in these roles, but it was a good adaptation. Because this was only a piece of the book, it ended on a downer, rather than the upbeat ending that was in the original. It is worth watching, if only because it is different than the run-of-the-mill junk that is out there. Acting is good, beautifully shot, and makes you think.
Rachel C. (rackoflamb) Reviewed on 9/3/2008...
A lot of novel and interesting separate moments, but slow and melancholy overall.
0 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Susan B. from PARKSLEY, VA Reviewed on 4/9/2008...
I read the reader reviews in the New York Times before getting this DVD, and I thought they pretty much all got this movie wrong in various ways. It takes a while before you realize that the husband is hurting as much as the wife is, but just expresses it differently. It's a very sad, affecting movie, but I loved it that the director nevertheless felt free to interject scenes that were uproariously funny along the way.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
The first third of John Irving's "A Widow for One Year"
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 12/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"John Irving's "A Prayer for Owen Meany" is my favorite contemporary novel, and it was clear when I read the book that it would never be made into a movie because the title character could never survive the transition. Indeed, all writer-director Mark Steven Johnson could do was be inspired to turn the first chapter of the novel into the film "Simon Birch." Irving himself did the screenplay for "The Cider Holes Rules" and had to condense and restructure the story to come up with a movie version. Even "The World According to Garp," which captures the high points of the comic novel, leaves out so much of the depth and detail. Of course, this is true of any adaptation of a novel. Things are always added and subtracted, changed and replaced, with any novel, but it seems that with Irving's novels filmmakers are painfully aware of the difficulties.
Such was the case with "A Widow for One Year," and writer-director Tod Williams gives himself a fighting chance by restricting himself to the first third of the novel in "The Door in the Floor." In doing so he at least creates a new market for the novel, since there is most of the story of these four people to be told. The situation is that Ted Cole (Jeff Bridges), who writes and illustrates stories for children, decides to hire an assistant for the summer, and hires a 16-year-old Exeter student, Eddie O'Hare (Jon Foster), who wants to be a writer when he grows up. The Cole family consists of wife Marion (Kim Basinger), their four-year-old daughter, Ruth (Elle Fanning), and the dozens of photographs on the wall of Tom and Tim, the two sons who died when they were teenagers.
Eddie does not know that he has walked into on going tragedy until it is way too late. Marion takes Eddie to bed, not just because Ted no longer touches her and the boy becoming a man has a crush on her, but because Ted wants to build a swimming pool. Ted and Marion have decided that the pain they feel needs to be inflicted on the other, but the tacit agreement is that they will not do it directly. If you pay attention, there are only a few scenes in which Marion and Ted appear together: Eddie becomes their go between, even when there are not any explicit messages. Eddie is the final nail in the coffin of this marriage, although only one of the three realizes this first and uses it to their advantage.
Although hired to help Ted, who needs to be driven around because he has lost his license, Eddie realizes he is there more for Marion and Ruth. For the little girl the most important thing in the world are the pictures of Tom and Tim on the walls. Each one has a story, and pity the poor nanny who does not know the story behind a particular photography. Ruth knows the stories by heart, but she likes to hear them being told to her again (and again). Ted thinks that Marion's indiscretions mean he can win guardianship of Ruth when the inevitable divorce happens, but never realizes he is playing the wrong game here.
When you see Basinger and Foster together their sexual relationship seems too hard to accept, but this would not be a problem if Williams did not choose to show us some of their more intimate moments. This is a mistake, not just because you are suddenly doing the math on the age difference between the actress and actor, but more importantly because the importance of the relationship is best seen from Ted's perspective. He never sees it (although Ruth does), but he knows about it and is bent on using that fact to his advantage. Both Basinger and Bridges bring an economy to their characters that brings a sharpness to their pain; for her it is the dead look in her eyes, for him it is the sound of what is missing in his voice.
"The Door in the Floor" is more forgiving of both Ted and Marion than the novel is by the end of that first section. Ted does not simply have affairs, but engages in calculated seductions using his talent and reputation. His current conquest, Evelyn Vaughn (Mimi Rogers), is in the final stages of the sordid relationship, where degradation becomes the name of the game. But Williams uses the sequence where Evelyn tries to take her revenge as the most comic moment in the film, and reduces his despicable treatment of the woman to a joke on a windshield. The film's sympathies are clearly with Marion, who is reduced to catatonia by thoughts of her dead sons. When she comes to her decision as to what is to be done, we believe it is the right one, even though the consequences are going to be devastating. But then Williams mutes the impact considerably.
As someone who read "A Widow for One Year," watching "The Door in the Floor" certainly hit the high points and brought back vivid memories of the best parts of the novel. But I now the movie will not resonate the same way for those who have not read the novel, but seeing this 2004 drama should certainly inspire them to do so. What happens in this film wrecks these four lives in persistent and insidious ways. This film is only the beginning of their story."
Outstanding domestic drama
Simon Crowe | Greenville, SC United States | 09/23/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"THE DOOR IN THE FLOOR is a reimagining of part of John Irving's book, A WIDOW FOR ONE YEAR. Ted Cole (Jeff Bridges), a monumentally self-absorbed children's book author, hires a teen age boy named Eddie (Jon Foster) as an assistant for a summer on Long Island. Quite a bit of the book is a coming-of-age story of Eddie's affair with Ted's wife Marion (the excellent Kim Basinger), who is racked with grief over the death of the couple's twin boys. The young daughter Ruth (Elle Fanning) was conceived to "replace" the boys, but Marion cannot emotionally attach to her daughter.
Jeff Bridges, in a monumental performance, takes center stage in the film. Ted orchestrates the summer in order to try to assuage Marion's grief while indulging his appetites in an affair with Mrs Vaughn (Mimi Rogers), a lonely neighbor. Things don't go as planned, and while it while i could describe the turns of the plot at length, suffice it to say that this is a film for adults, about love, loss, parenthood, the male ego, and so much more. Bridges and Basinger both do Oscar caliber work and the final image is indelibly haunting. One of the year's best.....
Also with Bijou Phillips and Donna Murphy...."
The best film of the summer!!!
Mark Twain | 08/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Door in the Floor is a fantastic film; an engaging, engrossing, and touching change of pace from the utter garbage that has been released this summer. This is a true adult film if there ever was one, full of wonderful, complicated, and real characters going through true everyday emotions that anyone can relate to.
Alternately tragic and comic, the film is an exploration of the complexities of love in both its brightest and darkest moments. Adapted from the first half of John Irving's best-selling novel 'A Widow for One Year,' the film is set in the privileged beach community of East Hampton, New York and chronicles one pivotal summer in the lives of famous children's book author Ted Cole (an Oscar-worthy performance by Jeff Bridges) and his beautiful wife Marion (Kim Basinger reminding us once again why she IS an Oscar-nominated actress). The couple's once-wonderful marriage has been strained by a family tragedy and neither one is or will ever be the same again.
Marion's resulting depression and Ted's subsequent infidelities have prevented the couple from facing a much-needed change in their relationship. They aren't divorced but they don't like together anymore either, taking turns staying in the house to care for their daughter (played by the adorable Elle Fanning, Dakota's sister). Then, Ted hires Eddie O'Hare, a 16 year old who wants to be a writer, to work as his summer assistant, changing the couple's lives forever. The boy becomes the couple's unwitting yet willing pawn - and, ultimately, becomes the catalyst in the transformation of their lives.
The Door in the Floor is a film of deep, devastating power - a film where you, as an audience member, actually share space with its two main characters. We inhabit their crumbled world, from the inside, not just as observers. By the end, we feel as if we have gone through their tragedy with them, and when I left the theatre, I felt as if my life had been changed by sharing with them what I just shared - as if time itself had stopped and left me suspended in there, with them.
The entire cast is very convincing and the film sparkles with dynamic performances. At first I felt Mimi Rogers was wasted in her almost silent role, but she has one of the most memorable scenes in the film, which came toward the end, and truly delivers a wonderful comedic portrayal. Elle Fanning amazed me. She is a gifted young talent and I look forward to seeing more of her. Like her sister Dakota, she did everything right. Jon Foster as Eddie is terrific, bringing out his character's innocence and confusion, and Bijou Phillips was great in her very small role.
The film is very explicit, but for anyone with an open mind and an open heart, it is THE film to see this summer. Hands down, one of the year's best. It definitely deserves and needs a wide release.
Grade: A "
Kim Basinger knocks at the door to the Oscar again!
Wing Lee | Toronto, Ontario | 10/17/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was very moved by this movie, dispite the fact that it had not tried to be depressing, and it was the right tone of sadness without overwhelming me. Just as Kim Basinger's would go:" Eddie, you are so serious for your age." She said that because she's numb and overly tramatized by the death of her teenage sons. This is about letting go of what has been taken away or lost and close that door forever. Both Kim Basinger and Jeff Bridges sort of gave the tramatic event a silent treatment and it had build a wall between them. It's unavoidable that an ignorant youngster like Jon Foster would provoke those old feelings when he asked Basinger about the deceased boys. She instantly turned to stone just like the day they died in the accident. Even Jeff Bridges had been avoiding "the door in the floor" for years. They just haven't dealt with it and memories will always come back and haunt them. Jeff Bridges is great, and he deserves extra credit for doing several scenes fully naked. His character's state of mind is the opposite of Basinger. He uses casual sex as a form of pleasure to escape from his depressing life. He feels obligated to stay with his wife when they no longer have any passion towards each other. Although he had constantly avoided opening the door to the floor, he ultimately does so, because he had to accept what he can't changed. Kim Basinger finally landed a great part again since her stunning role in L.A. Confidential. I enjoyed her a great deal in this film, because she had gone from so sad to letting herself go and sexually connects herself with Jon Foster. It was so mesmerizing to see her breaking down into tears when she was making love with Foster. Without a single line to deliver, her face expressed all her pain and sadness. She thought it was a mistake to have a baby(Elle Fanning) again after the teenage boys died. It didn't help them save the marriage, and she had stayed too long, even when she had lost all her feelings. She ultimately abandoned everyone including her daughther, because she didn't want to be a bad mother. I trully hope she will get her best actress award with this performance. Her final scene in the movie when she touches the face of Bridges before driving away was also a memorable part of this film. The two lead had almost no dialogues together. This shows how distant they have became, and they were no longer happy together."
Where monsters dwell
John H. Pendley | the beautiful mountains of north Georgia | 01/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Door In the Floor reminds us that children's stories are really pretty frightening. (Have you read the brothers Grimm recently?) Ted Cole (Jeff Bridges) writes such stories, among them one called The Door In the Floor, in which very bad things live beneath the titular door. Ted and his estranged wife, Marion (Kim Basinger), also live in a very bad place: a world bereft of their two sons, Thomas and Timothy, now dead for some years. How they cope, or fail to cope, with their loss is the subject of the film.
As Ted, Bridges gives as masterful a performance as I've seen in some years. He manages to make a manipulative philanderer into a sympathetic character. Without his magic, the tragedy of Ted's situation would be impossible to believe. If this isn't an award-worthy performance, I haven't seen one: its breadth is amazing, and it is apparantly effortless. Basinger invests Marion with a benumbed grief that is painful to witness. This performance makes her Oscar winning turn in LA Confidential seem almost facile by comparison. As Eddie O'Hare, the young pawn whom Ted brings into the game against his wife, Jon Foster is the weakest link in the trio. He has the requisite innocence, but not the much-needed sensitivity. He is simply too wooden. Elle Fanning is wonderful as the child the Coles had, hoping to replace their dead boys; Mimi Rogers is dead-on as one of Ted's conquests--one who turns on him in a welcome bit of comic relief.
If you are sensitive to such things, the movie deserves its R rating. There is male nudity, from the rear, and full frontal female nudity. The language is about what one would expect from an R rated movie.
The Door In the Floor is truly memorable for for two big reasons. 1)Jeff Bridges is spectacularly fine, without appearing to be spectacular at all. 2)When you reach the very last scene, you will realize the full import of Ted Cole's world-view, and you'll see the treatment of his character in the movie in a completely new light. This kind of ironic legerdemain, transforming the meaning of the entire film, lifts the whole thing onto a higher level."