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.