Adaptation (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

Adaptation (2002)



Critic Consensus: Dizzyingly original, the loopy, multi-layered Adaptation is both funny and thought-provoking.

Movie Info

Despite the success of his first produced script, "Being John Malkovich," for which he received an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay, Charlie Kaufman is plagued by insecurities, both in his career and his personal life. When he is hired to adapt "The Orchid Thief," a nonfiction book about a fanatical orchid breeder, John Laroche, he is completely stumped. Though, on the surface, the book is about Laroche's flower poaching adventures in the Florida Everglades, on another level it's also about the desire in all of us to experience passion. This longing plagues the book's author, Susan Orlean and, Charlie realizes, himself as well. Charlie's twin brother, Donald Kaufman, only makes things worse when he moves in with Charlie and announces he's going to be a screenwriter too. As Charlie battles his severe case of writer's block, Donald cheerily types away on a script about a serial killer with multiple-personality disorder. Donald's script immediately sells, making him the "hot" new writer in town. Then, one day, Charlie has a last ditch inspiration. He'll use his own dilemma as a framework for the script about Laroche and Orlean. But as the words start to flow, and the story takes shape, Charlie inadvertently sets in motion a chain of events impacting on the lives of all the characters.more
Rating: R (for language, sexuality, some drug use and violent images)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Charlie Kaufman, Donald Kaufman
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 20, 2003
Box Office: $22.2M
Columbia Pictures - Official Site


Nicolas Cage
as Charlie Kaufman/Dona...
Meryl Streep
as Susan Orlean
Chris Cooper
as John Laroche
Brian Cox
as Robert McKee
Jay Tavare
as Matthew Osceola
as Russell
Jim Beaver
as Ranger Tony
Judy Greer
as Alice the Waitress
Stephen Tobolowsky
as Ranger Steve Neely
Gary Farmer
as Buster Baxley
Peter Jason
as Defense Attorney
Gregory Itzin
as Prosecutor
Curtis Hanson
as Orlean's Husband
Agnes Badoo
as Orlean Dinner Guest
Paul Fortune
as Orlean Dinner Guest
Paul Jasmin
as Orlean Dinner Guest
Lisa Love
as Orlean Dinner Guest
Wendy Mogel
as Orlean Dinner Guest
David O. Russell
as Orlean Dinner Guest
Bob Yerkes
as Charles Darwin
Lynn Court
as Laroche's Dad
Roger E. Fanter
as Laroche's Uncle
Sandra Lee Gimpel
as Laroche's Mom
Caron Colvett
as Laroche's Wife
John Etter
as McKee Lecture Attend...
Ray Berrios
as Police Officer
Nancy Lenehan
as Kaufman's Mother
John Malkovich
as Himself (uncredited)
John Cusack
as Himself (uncredited)
Lance Acord
as Himself (uncredited)
Catherine Keener
as Herself (uncredited)
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Adaptation

Critic Reviews for Adaptation

All Critics (210) | Top Critics (39)

For two-thirds of its running time the film is close to genius. But there's still no third act.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic


Full Review… | January 10, 2016
Fat Guys at the Movies

As the character Kaufman himself admits, his script is self-indulgent, narcissistic, and solipsistic. It's also a heck of a lot of fun.

Full Review… | January 2, 2016

A fine accomplishment from all involved, especially Charlie Kauffman, who has written a bewildering and captivating movie, which bares his mind, heart and soul.

Full Review… | December 29, 2010
Matt's Movie Reviews

At all times, "Adaptation." carries the thrillingly unpredictable charge of a film writing itself before your eyes. Spike Jonze matches Charlie Kaufman's tumble through time, neuroticism, fact and fiction with depictions of creation at a cellular level.

Full Review… | September 25, 2010

Adult stuff only but hilarious and fresh.

Full Review… | September 2, 2010
Common Sense Media

Audience Reviews for Adaptation

Spike Jonze once again delivers exactly what you'd expect from Spike Jonze--the unexpected. There's a lot to chew on in this movie. This movie goes to show that Nicholas Cage is a good actor sometimes.


Super Reviewer

A triumphantly meta film that takes every opportunity to take a filmic cliche and completely turn it on its head. This is writer Kaufman's movie as much as it is Jonze's, and the duo manage to provoke laughs, pathos, and thought in this surreal dive into the writing psyche, complete with a wonderful dual performance from Nicolas Cage.

Kase Vollebregt
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer

Adaptation is one of the most intelligent and original films I've ever seen. Charlie Kaufman did a fantastic job with the script and it makes the audience think; this is something that not a lot of films do. All the acting is great especially by Nicolas Cage who convincingly portrays two people. I really liked the main character, Charlie, who is someone we can relate to. This is a film that leaves a lasting impact not only because it's so unique, but because of how emotionally powerful it is. One of my favorites.

Market Man
Eric Shankle

Super Reviewer

Adaptation Quotes

Herself: I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion. I want to know what it feels like to care about something passionately.
– Submitted by Isabella M (3 years ago)
Robert McKee: And God help you if you use voice-over in your work, my friends. God help you! That's flaccid, sloppy writing. Any idiot can write voice-over narration to explain the thoughts of the character.
– Submitted by Jordan P (4 years ago)
Donald Kaufman: You are what you love, not what loves you. That's what I decided a long time ago.
– Submitted by Mettie O (4 years ago)
Robert McKee: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day. There's genocide, war, corruption. Every fucking day, somewhere in the world, somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else. Every fucking day, someone, somewhere takes a conscious decision to destroy someone else. People find love, people lose it. For Christ's sake, a child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church. Someone goes hungry. Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman. If you can't find that stuff in life, then you, my friend, don't know crap about life! And why the FUCK are you wasting my two precious hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it! I don't have any bloody use for it!
– Submitted by Kunst J (4 years ago)

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