A lovelorn screenwriter becomes desperate as he tries and fails to adapt 'The Orchid Thief' by Susan Orlean for the screen.A lovelorn screenwriter becomes desperate as he tries and fails to adapt 'The Orchid Thief' by Susan Orlean for the screen.A lovelorn screenwriter becomes desperate as he tries and fails to adapt 'The Orchid Thief' by Susan Orlean for the screen.
It remains the single comment to have generated the most feedback for me. More than "The Passion of the Christ," and more than yes, even my upsetting review of 2003's "Peter Pan" (which seemed to anger the small die-hard fanbase for the film that lurks on these message boards - by the way, I've had to clarify this sentence by adding "for the film" because someone PM'd me yesterday accusing me of implying I have a fanbase on IMDb...no, I am referring to the film's fanbase, so please hold off on the accusations). I digress. In summary I gave "Adaptation" a negative rating and to my surprise, perhaps because I avoided totally slamming the film, the fans responded to me with kind words rather than harsh ones; conceivably they too had initially taken a dislike to the film? I made a daring move. I bought "Adaptation" on DVD for ten bucks, thinking, "I've got nothing to lose." Plus, the front cover looked cool anyway.
I watched it again (after taking into mind several themes and self-referential layers I had failed to visualize before) and was blown away by the originality and genius of the movie.
My hugest complaint regarding "Adaptation," originally, was its absurd ending -- I felt it was out of place, silly, and totally anti-climactic. Little did I realize this was the point -- to be a parody of the typical Hollywood blockbuster.
There are so many underlying jokes, gags and self-references that the film grows better -- like "Back to the Future" -- on each new viewing. You're always finding new stuff.
I found new respect for Nicolas Cage as an actor after my second viewing of this. I have always liked Cage despite the criticism he receives for being a one-sided actor; here, he proves he's capable of creating two very different human beings out of the same mold. Brilliant, Oscar-worthy stuff.
All in all I got it wrong the first time. "Adaptation" isn't a film that starts out clever and descends into a messy and stupid finish. Well, actually, it is. But that's the point. I didn't get it before. Now I do.
If you disliked this film, my advice? Watch it again. It knows a bit more about itself than you probably do. And read up on the message boards here a bit to get a clearer grasp of what's going on if you're totally clueless.
P.S. I'd like to thank all the people on this site who messaged me in response to my review.
- Apr 26, 2005