2004
Rated: R for strong sexual content, nudity. violence and adult language.
Genre: Drama
Directed By: Tod Williams
Running Time: 1:51
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 8/12/05
DVD Features:
Audio Commentary - 1. Tod Williams - Director, Terry Stacey - Director Of Photography, Alfonso Goncalves - Editor, Marcelo Zarvos - Composer, Eric Daman - Costume Designer
Featurette - 1. FRAME ON THE WALL
2. NOVEL TO SCREEN, An Interview With John Irving
3. Anatomy Of A Scene
THE DOOR IN THE FLOOR

 

This is yet another in a long line of independent films that pose as incredibly insightful character studies while bringing to memory many others like "The Ice Storm" or "American Beauty" in which the satire is played as tragicomedy. You sometimes laugh, but it ends up just being more like uncomfortable laughter, and many times you feel
guilty for having laughed, which is what "The Door in the Floor", a truly beautiful character study, excels in, the uncomfortable laughter that you just can't help, and feel guilty about when you take a long deep look at its core characters, a group of truly messed up people. You'll constantly think to yourself, "Should I have laughed at that?" during many sequences.

This great portrait constantly teeters from satire to drama back and forth, and it's a very balanced mixture of the two that make for a very engrossing human portrait. The film also takes much time to examine the psychology of each of its characters so in-depth that you're able to pick up much insight as to their behavior that even their idiosyncrasies end up transforming in to psychological behavior, and you just can't help but examine the truly
warped individuals in this story. Each character possesses their own little foibles and quirks that often border from eccentric to just utterly creepy. Haunted by the deaths of their sons in a fatal car accident, three left in a family basically left in shambles fall apart and separate in to different entities. Jeff Bridges plays Ted Cole, a naturalistic free-spirit who lives alone with his daughter and wife Marion.

The two, despite being married, are very distant from one another, and Ted, being a renowned writer, hires a young assistant. Young Eddie (Jon Foster) arrives who bears a shocking resemblance to their son and begins unintentionally shaking things up while finding himself in the middle of the events unfolding. He basically comes in the middle unintentionally not only watching how Ted composes his art through his voluptuous models, but how he manages to live his life through his willingness to parade himself around in the nude without shame. There's a very shocking and disturbing sequence where Ted is awakened by his daughter who has had a bad dream and he walks around with her in the nude. The scene, while disturbing, is not meant to be sexually suggestive, but is merely a natural expression of a father around his daughter.

Ellie Fanning plays a very strange little girl, and is often very adorable in her role of Ruth, a rather aberrant child who witnesses what is happening around her, but clings on to the pictures of her brothers that are just covering the walls of their house. Basinger as Marion forms a relationship with Jon and soon the two begin a sexual relationship that, when analyzed, does become immensely disturbing to fathom. Foster gives a great performance here and has great sexual chemistry with Basinger who is very somber in her emotions yet still exhibits much of the anguish by her sons deaths.

Bridges is excellent here and becomes the most psychologically complex character of the range of individuals present in this portrait. He's a writer who creates the most macabre children's books while also painting the most gruesome portraits from his models. How he paints his pictures of the women is how he views women in general, and how he views life . Before the accident his paintings were beautiful, but after, they're decrepit. The symbolism, metaphor and pure Freudian storytelling make for some of the most thought provoking imagery and humanistic storytelling I've ever seen, and the last few minutes will surely surprise with an ending that is seeping with undertone and will leave many talking for days.

Essentially "The Door in the Floor" is a well-acted, beautifully directed piece of filmmaking with many truly resonant psychological undertones, an engrossing story, all helped by a truly surprising ending.

 

 

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