The Door In The Floor


Directed by: Tod Williams
Written by:Tod Williams
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Kim Basinger, Jon Foster, Mimi Rogers, Bijou Phillips, Elle Fanning
Released: March 3, 2005
Grade: A-

For quiet 16-year-old Eddie O’Hare (Foster), he expects this summer to be the best of his life.  A budding writer, Eddie has been chosen by famous children’s book author Ted Cole (Bridges) to serve as is intern.  Eddie has even drafted a novel of his own and anxiously looks forward to what this great writer will think of his work and what help he can offer.

What transpires is everything but.  From their first encounter, Eddie realises that Ted is not the man he expected him to be.  Eddie has arrived at a time when Ted and his wife Marion (Basinger) have begun a trial separation.  They may be separated but they have developed a strange habit regarding their living arrangements.  So that they can equally spend time with their 4-year-old daughter, Ruth (Fanning), they each spend alternate nights at their sea-view home.  When one of them is at home, the other spends the night in a small city apartment.

Eddie soon finds himself as a confidant to both parties.  With the romance drained from her life, Marion takes pleasure from the innocent school-boy crush that Eddie develops on her.  An affair then ensues.  Ted on the other hand, is looking for a free chauffer.  He lost his drivers licence a few months earlier so he uses Eddie to drive him everywhere.  What he sees and hears from Ted is strange to say the least.

As open as this married couple are, there’s one topic they never speak of.  Their two teenage sons recently passed away and Eddie senses this is the key reason behind their crumbling marriage.  How did they die?  Eddie wants to open this “door in the floor” but it’s a precarious topic to approach…

This film from writer-director Tod Williams is based on the novel A Widow For One Year by John Irving.  I’m no book critic but I like Irving’s style have read The Cider House Rules a few years back.  When you watch The Door In Floor, you’ll feel the richness and complexity within the characters.  They are multi-dimensional and very mysterious.  Like a good novel, not all is revealed in the first chapter.

Three great performances act as the catalyst in bringing Irving’s book to the screen.  For Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski, The Contender), it proves once again that he’s great in any role.  For Kim Basinger, it proves that the talent that won her an Oscar for L.A. Confidential is not going to waste.  For Jon Foster, it proves that there’s one more newcomer with a bright future.

The only limitation I felt with Floor was that it felt a little compact.  So much story and so much character development was being squashed into a miniscule 111 minutes.  As I’ve indicated in the past, the challenge of condensing a beloved novel is the hardest tests for any screenwriter.  There were too many elements to this tale which were not explored to my liking.  Then again, I suppose it’s always better to say too little rather than too much.

In regards to this review, I too should probably say no more.  The rest of the film’s great qualities, I will leave for you to see yourself.