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Adaptation - Review

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Buy the DVD Adaptation

Reviewed by: Max - SimplyScripts Reviewer

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Directed by: Spike Jones

Writing: Susan Orlean (novel)
Charlie Kaufman (screenplay)

Nicolas Cage .... Charlie Kaufman/Donald Kaufman
Tilda Swinton .... Valerie
Meryl Streep .... Susan Orlean
Chris Cooper as John Laroche

Grade: A

Every once in a great while we get one of those original and extremely strange movies that blow our minds. "Adaptation" is one of them. Only madmen like Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman could come up with something so weird and funny. They were the men behind the extremely great film "Being John Malkovich." "Adaptation" is one of those films that leave you curious to the point of insanity as it takes twists and turns you never suspect. And as the credits finally begin to roll you finally catch your breath.

The film's about a book titled ‘The Orchid Thief,' based on a New Yorker article by Susan Orlean (Meryl Streep). The book is about a man named John Laroche (Chris Cooper). He is an orchid-lover that would travel all over the world and literally kill to get a hold of one. Since it's illegal to steal them off protected property he hires Indians to pick the orchids, since it used to be Indian land.

Sounds like a simply story...but it goes a lot further than that. Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage) is hired to adapt the book into a screenplay. He can't figure out how to adapt the book. He's stuck. There's really no story to the book. There's too much stuff about orchids in the book.

Charlie's anger escalates as his not so intelligent brother Donald - who is also played by Nicolas Cage - sells a script for a million bucks and his producer won't get off of his back. He keeps digging ideas out of his brain until he finally decides to write himself into the script.

The whole time during this movie my blood was pumping and my brain constantly kept shooting out ideas that just might happen next. That is one of the reasons this film is so amazing. Anything can happen! During the excellent twists and turns and fantastic acting you get tangled up in its web and get hypnotized to the screen. I couldn't even take my eyes off of it. Besides all its twists and turns, there is something even more that made me love this film: it's acting. Each and every person in this movie gives a great performance. Especially Cage. With his double role as twin brothers I think he deserved that Oscar. No doubt about it. With Charlie you bought him as a lonely and depressed man. You saw the sickness in his eyes and the look in his face that said "Just kill me." I could actually relate to Charlie. I'm one of those people that care what other people think of me and don't want to be lonely. With Donald he convinced me he was a happy and talented man who wanted to write and screenplay badly. A man who didn't care what other people thought of him. He was the center of this film and if he didn't pull it off the film would have sucked. But he did an excellent job!

I think probably one of the best (and funniest) scenes of the film is when Charlie is at a screenwriting seminar of Robert McKee (Brian Cox). Charlie asks McKee what he should do when he's writing a script to where nothing happens in the world. McKee explains to him in a screaming manor (and a few F-words) that it's impossible to write a script where nothing happens. People die everyday, people lose and gain a love everyday. That scene really had an impact on me.

Meryl Streep also gives and excellent and convincing performance. She really makes you feel for her as her life falls apart. Especially at the end of the film. It makes you want to cry. Chris Cooper is also great. He won an Oscar for this performance. Something about his character is really interesting. How he goes through different hobbies. And his love with orchids is pure amazing.

The film has several great messages. One is Life. It's not a toy and don't take nothing for granted. Also I learned abut Love. I learned how some people can love something so passionately. How Laroche fell about orchids is how I feel about movies.


Grade: B

I was expecting a little bit more than this. Like director's commentary. Or deleted scenes. That would have been a treat. But we don't. But the good thing is it at least came out as a Superbit DVD. Superbit DVDs have the cleanest and clearest quality. It's beautiful to look at and listen to. The special features are cool but they could have added on a lot more. We get really cool animated menus. On the main animated menu check out the small little ant that crawls across the screen. You can barely notice it.

We get some neat filmographies. For the filmography for Donald Kaufman (which I'm not sure if exists or not) it says that "The 3" will be made in 2004. "The 3" is the script Donald was writing throughout the film. We can also get to watch the film with English and French subtitles! Lame! But the thing I like coolest about the film is the trailer. It doesn't give a lot away but it does make you want to see the movie. A fairly decent DVD for an amazing movies.

Reviewed by: Max - SimplyScripts Reviewer
May 25, 2003

copyright (c) 2003 Max, used with permission

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