Spike Jonze & Charlie Kaufman’s create a trippy metafilm; just being made could have been this movie’s greatest achievement; so much more…
I have no idea how this got greenlit, but I’m grateful. The semi-autobiographical story of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman struggling (and mostly failing) to adapt real-life author Susan Orlean’s 1988 non-fiction book “The Orchid Thief” raises so many questions:
- Why did filmmakers think this book would make a good movie in the first place?
- How did Kaufman manage to ever work in town again after turning in a screenplay that is really just an account of him struggling to adapt the book?
- Why did Susan Orlean, John Laroche & Robert McKee agree to their portrayals in this?
Well, whatever the reasons, I’m just happy that it all came together, because Adaptation is a wonderful movie. Perhaps it is more of an experiment than a true movie, but it is very enjoyable.
Except for the ending; the ending sucked. Truly. If Robert McKee is right and “The last act makes a film.”, then this wasn’t any good. So I think that quote is a touch over-simple. The third act didn’t ruin Adaptation, although it’s startling left turn in tone made a close job of doing so.
Further questions for discussion:
- While everyone agrees Chris Carter is a great actor, is this the role he should have gotten an Oscar for? (He did.)
- I was probably half way through the movie before I realized that Donald Kaufman (Charlie’s fictitious twin brother) was actually a character in the movie and not a figment of Charlie’s imagination. I was getting really confused. I’m not sure, but I don’t think they even refer to him by name for quite a bit. So my question: if this was not Nic Cage doubling as a second character, but rather just some roommate played by another actor, would that make this better or worse?
The Representation Test Score: B (7 pts)
|Main Cast||Nicolas Cage Charlie Kaufman/Donald Kaufman, Meryl Streep Susan Orlean, Chris Cooper John Laroche, Tilda Swinton Valerie Thomas|
|Release Date||Fri 10 Jan 2003 UTC|
|Genres||Comedy, Crime, Drama|
|Plot||A love-lorn script writer grows increasingly desperate in his quest to adapt the book ‘The Orchid Thief’.|
|Tagline||From the creator of Being John Malkovich, comes the story about the creator of Being John Malkovich.|
|Writers||Susan Orlean (book), Charlie Kaufman (screenplay) …|