Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 207


Audience Score

User Ratings: 188,584
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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.


Nicolas Cage
as Charlie Kaufman/Donald Kaufman
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
Doug Jones
as Augustus Margary
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 Attendee
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)
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Critic Reviews for Adaptation

All Critics (207) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (188) | Rotten (19)

Audience Reviews for Adaptation

  • Dec 15, 2012
    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 V Super Reviewer
  • Sep 30, 2012
    Adaptation is undoubtedly one of the most original films I've ever seen. The films concept is even more genius than Spike Jonze's previous Being John Malkovich. The film follows the real-life writer Charlie Kaufman trying to adapt a book called The Orchid Thief into a screenplay. The screenplay that he ends up writing is the screenplay of this movie. It sounds very confusing, but it really is a genius concept and has to be seen to be believed. All of the performances are great, and the final act is the most exciting (even if it is the most fictitious). I also loved how the film portrays screenwriters as one of the most vital people to the creation of a film yet they are the most overlooked. The beauty of Adaptation is that you have no idea where it's going to go next because the events are being written as the film progresses. The only complaint I have is that the final act is far superior to the rest of the movie, which isn't nearly as interesting. Overall, I cannot stress enough how original Adaptation is.
    Kevin M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 28, 2012
    It flounders in its final third as it attempts to poke fun at itself and ends up feeling unnecessarily formulaic, but nonetheless Adaptation is a clever, one-of-a-kind Kaufman dramedy fueled by strong performances and an undeniably creative flare.
    Isaac H Super Reviewer
  • Aug 11, 2012
    ''You are what you love, not what loves you. That's what I decided a long time ago.'' <3
    Liam G Super Reviewer

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