The enduring friendship between the Walling and Ostroff families is tested when Nina, the prodigal Ostroff daughter, returns home for the holidays after a five-year absence and enters into an affair with David, head of the Walling family.
As a war rages on in the province of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, a young girl becomes transfixed by the Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations, which is being read at school by the only white man in the village.
Surrounded by wealth and living with abundant resources in Manhattan, 12-year-old cello prodigy Reggie, lives a solitary life lacking only frequently absent parents and friends. Estranged from family, having slacker boyfriend troubles, and fired from her waitressing job, sometimes musician 23-year-old Eleanor needs a new place to live and a new job.
In conservative West Orange, New Jersey, the Ostroff and Walling families are very close. David Walling and Terry Ostroff are inseparable best friends and run together everyday. David has problems with his wife, Paige. He frequently sleeps alone in his office. Their daughter, Vanessa, is frustrated because she has not succeeded in her career as a designer. Their son, Toby, is moving to China on a temporary assignment. Terry's wife, Cathy, ignores him. Their daughter Nina moved to San Francisco five years ago. Near Thanksgiving, Nina's boyfriend Ethan betrays her at his birthday party and Nina returns to her parents house. Nina argues with her mother and draws closer to David. Soon they have an affair and fall in love, turning the lives of the people close to them upside-down. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I saw this movie with zero previous knowledge and it really impressed me. Two neighbouring families in New Jersey (in an area known as The Oranges because the cities there all have the term Orange in their names -- hence the title of the movie) live harmonically next to each other. The children have grown up together, the men go jogging together, they celebrate the holidays together. They have normal problems -- one daughter doesn't seem to get on with her life, the other plans to marry a deadbeat, then breaks up with him because she caught him cheating on her. Her meddling mother wants to hook her up with their neighbour's A-student son, but the wayward daughter opts for his dad (played by Hugh Laurie) instead. Actually, a plausible choice at that point. She's fed up with college boys, needs stability, and they do care for each other. Her new manfriend feels rejuvenated since his marriage has been in the doldrums for some time. After the unlikely lovebirds have kissed, and even before their first date in a no-tell-motel, their budding affair is exposed. And a lot of hell breaks loose.
The movie plays out a conundrum scenario. On the one hand, there's nothing wrong with an loving relationship between two consenting adults, right? Nina, the girl hooking up with her family guy neighbour, says it herself in one scene: "But what if there was no wrong? ... There is no wrong." On the other hand, the very proximity between all persons involved turns against the love affair between Nina and David (family guy). David's daughter feels this most acutely: she doesn't want to become a nagging moralizer for family values. On the other hand, she doesn't want her former schoolmate Nina to become her new stepmom either.
I find this a great movie about an interesting moral dilemma.
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