The Door in the Floor - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Door in the Floor Reviews

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Bill D 2007
Super Reviewer
December 31, 2012
What an injustice that "The Door in the Floor" has been seen by so few. It has its flaws, but it also has magnificence. It's a must-see DVD for anyone who cares about serious, complex drama and beautiful filmmaking.

What a travesty that director Tod Williams (not to be confused with Todd Field of "In the Bedroom") has not been able to get a serious film made since 2004 -- almost a decade! It pisses me off how many talented filmmakers in America die on the vine. Anyone remember Laurie Collyer, who made the exquisite "Sherrybaby" in 2006? Or Karen Moncrieff, whose powerful "The Dead Girl" also came out that year? They're probably waiting tables, no one willing to bankroll their films.

In "The Door in the Floor," which is based on the John Irving novel "A Widow for One Year," Jeff Bridges plays a famous writer living in the Hamptons. Kim Basinger plays his wife. Four-year-old Elle Fanning plays their daughter. Little-known actor Jon Foster plays a prep-school intern hired to be Bridges' assistant for the summer.

It's amazing how much we learn about this troubled family in two hours. Williams' filmmaking is so good that a lot of ground is covered in such a short time. Not a single shot is wasted. There is so much story-telling in every scene. I've complained a lot in the past few years about filmmakers who don't know much about stories. Tod Williams knows how to tell a story.

That of course means that audiences aren't interested in his work and producers don't want to work with him. In a word: Develop a talent for story-telling, lose all hope of getting work as a filmmaker in America.
Super Reviewer
July 11, 2011
A philandering childrens book writer and his depressive wife invite a young writer into their home as they're still coping with the traumatic deaths of their sons.
Based on a part of a John Irving novel, this film features a truly exceptional performance by Jeff Bridges. During the film, I thought about how this character was perfect practice for his role in Crazy Heart. And the film's mood follows Bridges's performance - earthy and sullen yet always forcing a pained grin.
Under the strong direction of Tod Williams, there are a few moments when I wondered how or if the same effect could be accomplished in Irving's prose, which I have always liked, but I never thought it deserved the accolades it received. For example, toward the end there is a silent goodbye that is almost impossible to render in words, and the images of the dead sons deftly render the loss this family experienced.
However, not everything about this film shines. Numb and dead with grief, Kim Basinger's Marion isn't a very compelling character, and until the third act, Jon Foster's Eddie seems like he's on his way to another movie. Also, the film's climax is essentially expository. Though it's delivered effectively, structuring the film so that this revelation comes earlier would have made the film much stronger.
Overall, Jeff Bridges and some truly effective moments rendering the depressing realities of this family's life make The Door in the Floor a fine drama.
Super Reviewer
November 9, 2006
Poor Ruth. :(
Super Reviewer
½ March 16, 2008
They do a great job of capturing the quirky, somber, earthy mood of the chunk of the book they adapted. Something missing that I can't put my finger on, though.
Super Reviewer
½ July 2, 2006
After the great reviews this got when it was released I was slightly disappointed. While the acting performances were really good, with Jeff Bridges standing out, it was still really hard to relate to the characters and the decisions they made. At times the movie was sad, then oddly amusing, which created a rather strange mood. It wasn't until the end, when Bridges' character talks about what happened the day of the accident, that it all reaches the emotional level the topic deserves. Special mention also for a really beautiful soundtrack.
Super Reviewer
½ September 1, 2010
This proved a nearly perfect rendering of the first part John Irving's wonderful novel, A Widow for One Year. Kim Basinger was the perfect choice to play Marion Cole, a woman who has failed to rejoin life after a horrible family tragedy. Her ability to convey the profound sadness of a mother who has suffered an unspeakable loss and still come across as "the most beautiful woman" in young Eddie's life was flawless. Eddie was played by relative unknown, Jon Foster. He combined an awkward shyness with his undeniable good looks to keep Eddie from becoming a cliche. Jeff Bridges, as Ted Cole, a children's author, artist, and incorrigible womanizer and Mimi Rogers, as Mrs. Vaughn, his current target of lust were both excellent choices. But the real gem here was Elle Fanning, who played Ted and Marion's four year old daughter, Ruth, who grows up to become the widow of the book's title. What an amazing young actress! The scenery and cinematography combined to evoke the Hamptons beautifully and never overwhelmed. The script followed the arc of the novel nearly perfectly. Rarely has this viewer been able to stomach a film based on a book he has read. This is one of the rare exceptions. Having just finished the book, I found this treatment one of the best adaptations I have ever seen, faithful and true. Screenwriter and director Tod Williams has set a high bar indeed!
Super Reviewer
March 28, 2009
A nimble and faithful adaptation with wonderful performances from skilled actors who are given fully realized, three-dimensional characters. It truly captures the Irving spirit (especially in the final third when pathos, tragedy, and comedy combine into a powerful and moving conclusion.)
Super Reviewer
June 23, 2008
One of the better Irving adaptations..just how many books did the guy write?
Super Reviewer
May 15, 2010
Ted is a succesful author and he invites a student to be his assistant for the summer. When the assistant arrives he soon discovers that Ted's marriage is falling apart and the situation gets even worse when the assistant starts an affair with Ted's wife. I thought this movie was interesting and very good. This is the first movie I've seen which starred Dakota Fanning's little sister and she's aspiring to be a real good actress just like her sister. This movie is definetely worth watching.
Super Reviewer
February 1, 2007
Tod Williams skilfully adapts a portion of John Irving's "un-filmable" novel A Widow for One Year; A Door in the Floor is a wonderful, beautifully acted and photographed film and is an exploration on grief, guilt and love that feels both unique and, most importantly, completely real. Jon Foster, who plays Eddie as a mixture of confused hormones, has this almost monotone delivery, which, like Keanu Reeves' most honest performances (My Own Private Idaho, River's Edge), draws you in and makes you very aware of the actually quite complicated feelings beneath the words being said. Kim Basinger proves once more that she can be a remarkably good actor; Marion is a broken being, unable to be close to her daughter for the feelings that just being near to her bring up. But it is Jeff Bridges who really delivers. Initially what seems like his default 'slacker' mode (Ted wanders his house either wrapped in a sheet or naked, completely unbothered by embarrassment, and makes Eddie type the same lines out over and over, with minor grammatical adjustments, in search of the perfect sentence) is revealed to be a kind of survival mechanism, for he too is grief-stricken - in a very different way, but no less damaging. The film offers no real resolution but does allow at least two characters a kind of catharsis. The final images are sure to raise questions but it isn't the answers that are important, in this fascinating and unquestionably moving film.
Super Reviewer
September 19, 2009
This film fails to maintain tonal consistency, which in a sense is intentional but not altogether successful. Director Tod Williams crafts it in such a way that there is a somber aura at the core of almost every scene, so the brief flashes of comedy are uncomfortable. It doesn't work as the tragicomic piece that it's supposed to be, but it is by no means a bad movie. The writing is so beautiful and profound, and the characters aptly played, that it's difficult not to find something to admire. Jeff Bridges is the standout, with Kim Basinger playing at a lower level than the actors surrounding her, but not to the detriment of the piece as a whole. In terms of composition and lighting, it's a striking and effective work as well. The final scene is one of the strongest conclusions in a film released during the year 2004.
Super Reviewer
August 22, 2011
Enjoyed this film. Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger turn in a wonderful performance. Dakota Fanning's younger sister Elle plays the daughter. Jon Foster did a stellar job with his role. Lucky guy did a love scene with Basinger :)
Super Reviewer
May 28, 2008
Kim Basinger and Jeff Daniels are reallly great in this smaller movie of a marriage falling apart.
Super Reviewer
½ October 20, 2007
Superb acting, the story is good, but again is just highlighted by the actors performances.
Super Reviewer
September 13, 2006
I just wanted to smack Jeff Bridges character.
½ August 3, 2010
Based upon the fact that the whole storyline was twisted from the beginning, I'd say this was an okay movie. Not a blockbuster, but still it was good.
September 22, 2009
A great film that is based upon John Irving's Book "A Widow for One Year". A shocking yet extremely enjoyable film.
½ April 6, 2008
It's shot well and acted well (Jeff Bridges is one of the best actors working, and even if the movie's crap he isn't), but I found every single character, besides the caretaker and (I guess) the young man who comes to stay for the summer, to be selfish and unappealing. While the tragedy that leads up to the events in the movie is indeed tragic, everyone responds to it in such a destructive nature, and by destructive I mean destructive to everyone around them except themselves, by the end of the movie I didn't really care. No one really learns anything and I have a feeling these characters will be engaging in more of the same next summer and then wringing their hands about how tragic their life is and using the tragedy that lead to it initially as an excuse. It's basically rich people engaging in wreckless behavior with no repercussions. Worth it for Bridges' performance, but otherwise not my cup of tea.
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