The Door in the Floor

Critics Consensus

Though uneven in tone, this is one of the better adaptations of John Irving's novels, with Jeff Bridges giving one of his best performances.



Total Count: 144


Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,018
User image

The Door in the Floor Photos

Movie Info

Set in the beach community of East Hampton, New York, one pivotal summer in the lives of famous children's books author Ted Cole and his beautiful wife Marion is chronicled. Their once-great marriage has been strained by tragedy. The Coles lovingly parent their surviving child, bright 4-year-old Ruth, who takes everything in stride as perhaps only a child can. But Marion's equation of love with loss, coupled with Ted's infidelities, points towards a much-needed change in the relationship. That may come in the form of Eddie O'Hare, the young man Ted hires to work as his summer assistant--and, Ted hopes, the catalyst to invigorate the Coles' bond of marriage. Eddie idolizes Ted, but Ted's erratic work habits soon leave Eddie to his own devices. Marion becomes an object of desire for Eddie, rekindling in her some surprising emotions as a mother and as a woman. To Eddie's surprise and delight, his yearning is potently reciprocated. As he becomes passionately entwined with the seemingly fragile yet increasingly bold Marion, Eddie comes to realize that, and similarly, Ted's surface fecklessness hides something deeper within. As the summer draws to a close, Marion and Ted must make difficult decisions about the future of their family.


Jeff Bridges
as Ted Cole
Kim Basinger
as Marion Cole
Jon Foster
as Eddie O'Hare
Mimi Rogers
as Evelyn Vaughn
Elle Fanning
as Ruth Cole
Louis Arcella
as Eduardo Gomez
John Rothman
as Minty O'Hare
Robert LuPone
as Mendelssohn
Harvey Loomis
as Dr. Loomis
LeAnna Croom
as Glorie Mountsier
Claire Beckman
as Mrs. Mountsier
Larry Pine
as Interviewer
Mike S. Ryan
as Reception Fan
Libby Langdon
as Woman at Reception
Rachel Style
as Bookstore Assistant
Amanda Posner
as Frame Shop Clerk
Donna Murphy
as Frame Shop Owner
Marion McCorry
as Bookstore Customer
Carter Williams
as Timothy Cole
View All

News & Interviews for The Door in the Floor

Critic Reviews for The Door in the Floor

All Critics (144) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (96) | Rotten (48)

  • Jeff Bridges is extraordinary as Ted Cole...this hothouse tale of grief, sex and betrayal is told with a cool detachment that renders it commendably unsentimental--and slightly remote.

    Mar 13, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • One of the best Irving adaptations, a movie with a sad soul and something to say about that state in us all.

    Sep 17, 2004 | Rating: 4/5
  • Since when are dullness and realism synonymous?

    Aug 7, 2004
  • A fundamentally depressing piece of work -- not because it deals with tragic events and memories but because the characters seem hapless and even stupid, and the writer-director can't, or won't, take control.

    Aug 1, 2004

    David Denby

    New Yorker
    Top Critic
  • Not one enigmatic person in The Door in the Floor asks to be liked, but you like them anyway.

    Jul 23, 2004 | Full Review…

    Rex Reed

    Top Critic
  • I can't say I minded the movie too much, but I can't say it ever grabbed me, which is how I feel about every other movie adapted from an Irving novel.

    Jul 23, 2004 | Full Review…

    Andrew Sarris

    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Door in the Floor

  • Dec 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.
    William D Super Reviewer
  • Aug 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 :)
    George K Super Reviewer
  • Jul 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 <i>Crazy Heart</i>. 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 <i>The Door in the Floor</i> a fine drama.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Sep 01, 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!
    Mark A Super Reviewer

The Door in the Floor Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features