7.7/10
158,504
729 user 247 critic

Adaptation. (2002)

Trailer
2:32 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
A lovelorn screenwriter becomes desperate as he tries and fails to adapt 'The Orchid Thief' by Susan Orlean for the screen.

Director:

Writers:

(book), (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
2,924 ( 53)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 64 wins & 100 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A puppeteer discovers a portal that leads literally into the head of movie star John Malkovich.

Director: Spike Jonze
Stars: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A theatre director struggles with his work, and the women in his life, as he creates a life-size replica of New York City inside a warehouse as part of his new play.

Director: Charlie Kaufman
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams
Anomalisa (2015)
Animation | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A man crippled by the mundanity of his life experiences something out of the ordinary.

Directors: Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman
Stars: David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan
Magnolia (1999)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An epic mosaic of interrelated characters in search of love, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jason Robards, Julianne Moore
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged towards a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman
A Serious Man (2009)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Larry Gopnik, a Midwestern physics teacher, watches his life unravel over multiple sudden incidents. Though seeking meaning and answers amidst his turmoils, he seems to keep sinking.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Sari Lennick
Rushmore (1998)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The extracurricular king of Rushmore preparatory school is put on academic probation.

Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The eccentric members of a dysfunctional family reluctantly gather under the same roof for various reasons.

Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: Gene Hackman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anjelica Huston
Boogie Nights (1997)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The story of a young man's adventures in the Californian pornography industry of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds
Her (2013)
Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In a near future, a lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with an operating system designed to meet his every need.

Director: Spike Jonze
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo.

Director: Sofia Coppola
Stars: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out to find them.

Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Charlie Kaufman / Donald Kaufman
... Valerie Thomas
... Susan Orlean
... John Laroche
... Matthew Osceola
... Russell (as G. Paul Davis)
... Randy
... Ranger Tony
... Amelia Kavan
... Augustus Margary
... Ranger Steve Neely (scenes deleted)
... Buster Baxley
... Defense Attorney
... Prosecutor
... Orlean's Husband
Edit

Storyline

While his latest movie Being John Malkovich (1999) is in production, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is hired by Valerie Thomas to adapt Susan Orlean's non-fiction book "The Orchid Thief" for the screen. Thomas bought the movie rights before Orlean wrote the book, when it was only an article in The New Yorker. The book details the story of rare orchid hunter John Laroche, whose passion for orchids and horticulture made Orlean discover passion and beauty for the first time in her life. Charlie wants to be faithful to the book in his adaptation, but despite Laroche himself being an interesting character in his own right, Charlie is having difficulty finding enough material in Laroche to fill a movie, while equally not having enough to say cinematically about the beauty of orchids. At the same time, Charlie is going through other issues in his life. His insecurity as a person doesn't allow him to act upon his feelings for Amelia Kavan, who is interested in him as a man. And Charlie's twin ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

From the creator of Being John Malkovich, comes the story about the creator of Being John Malkovich. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, sexuality, some drug use and violent images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Sony Pictures

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

14 February 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Orchid Thief  »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$384,478, 8 December 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$22,245,861, 20 April 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The tropical fish species, to which John refers, while riding in the van with Susan, are Anisotremus virginicus, Holacanthus ciliaris, and Chaetadon capistratus, or the Porkfish, Queen Angelfish, and Foureye Butterflyfish respectively. See more »

Goofs

When Charlie is sitting in the coffee shop, the menu jumps about on the table between shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Charlie Kaufman: [voiceover] Do I have an original thought in my head? My bald head. Maybe if I were happier, my hair wouldn't be falling out. Life is short. I need to make the most of it. Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I'm a walking cliché. I really need to go to the doctor and have my leg checked. There's something wrong. A bump. The dentist called again. I'm way overdue. If I stop putting things off, I would be happier. All I do is sit on my fat ass. If my ass wasn't fat I would ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

"We're all one thing, Lieutenant. That's what I've come to realize. Like cells in a body. 'Cept we can't see the body. The way fish can't see the ocean. And so we envy each other. Hurt each other. Hate each other. How silly is that? A heart cell hating a lung cell." - Cassie from THE THREE See more »

Connections

Referenced in Love Is Plastic (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Alison
Written and Performed by Elvis Costello
Published by BMG Songs, Inc. o/b/o BMG Music Publishing Ltd.
Courtesy of Rhino Entertainment Company/Elvis Costello Music
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products and Courtesy of Elvis Costello Ltd.
Under license from Demon Music Group Ltd.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
actors & director create startling and original film
4 December 2002 | by See all my reviews

"Adaptation" is an off-the-wall film with a startling second half. Overall, the film is darkly comic, but viewers get an unexpected dose of movie action and violence before everything is said and done.

It's fair to say that there is a fair amount of violence in the film, and even when you know it's coming, you're still caught off guard. Spike Jonze is merciless in this regard. Some of the scenes are incredibly graphic, in fact.

There is a certain adolescent male tone to the film (the violence + sexual fantasy + masturbation). This is partially due to characterization and partially due to the director's own aesthetic and perspective. It's not a bad thing, necessarily, either. It just feels as if an unassuming (white male) kid who grew up thinking a lot about girls and watching movies where stuff blowed up made this film... See it and you'll know what I'm saying.

The script is crazy. Absolutely zany. Akin to "Being John Malkovich" really. Fortunately, this well gives opportunity for Nic Cage, Meryl Streep, and Chris Cooper to really be free with their art.

Cage has a difficult role, portraying two very different identical twin brothers. Cage is at the emotional core of the film. If his performance doesn't resonate, the film doesn't work. I thought Cage was excellent. And that the script really gives him some wonderful, challenging material to work with. His first scene with Tilda Swinton (looking gorgeous!) is excellent.

Meryl Streep...well, what can be said. She's fantastic. She exudes a tiredness and connectedness and hopelessness and sadness, evolving the character brilliantly over the course of the film.

Similarly, Chris Cooper brings a humanity to the role of the Orchad Thief, really grounding the narrative and making it all believable. Again, he's given a brilliant opening scene and he works wonders with it. Throughout, he is believably arrogant, lonely, vulnerable, and just plain real. Cooper's performance is as rich as any other I've seen this year; truly, truly sublime.

"Adaptation" is certainly not for everyone. If you're looking for something starkly different and simmering with originality, give this film a try, though. Amidst some cloying self-referential clap-trap, there are actually some really freshing film moments.


85 of 141 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 729 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial