The Door In The Floor

The Door In The Floor
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Kim Basinger, Jon Foster, Mimi Rogers, Elle Fanning, Bijou Phillips, Louis Arcella
Director: Tod Williams
Genre: Drama
Rated: M 15+ medium level sex scene, medium level coarse language
Running Time: 111 Minutes

The Most Dangerous Secrets Are The Ones We're Afraid To Tell Ourselves.

Set in the beach community of East Hampton, New York, the film chronicles one pivotal summer in the lives of famous children's books author Ted Cole (Jeff Bridges) and his beautiful wife Marion (Kim Basinger). Their once-great marriage has been strained by tragedy. The Coles lovingly parent their surviving child, bright 4-year-old Ruth (Elle Fanning), who takes everything in stride as perhaps only a child can. But Marion's equation of love with loss, coupled with Ted's infidelities, points towards a much-needed change in the relationship. That may come in the form of Eddie O'Hare (Jon Foster), the young man Ted hires to work as his summer assistant - and, Ted hopes, the catalyst to invigorate the Coles' bond of marriage.

My Verdict:
'The Door In The Floor' is directed by Tod Williams whose screenplay is adapted from John Irving's novel 'A Widow For One Year', but this movie is only about the first third of the novel. This may sound like an incomplete film but it certainly isn't with a beginning, middle and end that are satisfying.

Ted and Marion Cole and their four-year-old daughter, Ruth, live on a large property in the East Hamptons, New York, after re-locating there to start over after the accidental death of their two sons. The movie opens with young blonde Ruth explaining photos on the wall in the passageway of their home, which has become a shrine to the Cole's two sons. Ted and Marion are really struggling with their marriage since their sons' death, with the fractured and sorrowful Marion unable to resolve her grief and Ted seemingly believing that he has "moved on". Ted is an artist and author who, at times displays eccentric behaviour, and he decides to hire an assistant for the summer, a young college student, Eddie O'Hare. Ted has ulterior motives for hiring Eddie, most of all, he is a dead-ringer for one of their sons and hopes this may animate Marion in some way, which of course it does. Marion teaches Eddie about sex, using him in an almost incestuous way, but they also end up learning about themselves. Feelings in Ted surface as he faces the relationship that he set up between Eddie and Marion and he too learns a few truths about himself. Over the course of the summer, the relationships between all the players becomes increasingly fraught with tension, leading to all three making decisions about themselves and the direction of their lives.

Jeff Bridges is a masterful Ted. He is arrogant and pig-headed, yet also shows the other side of Ted as a caring and compassionate father. Kim Basinger is so wonderfully restrained as Marion, a woman seemingly on the edge of despair, and yet opens to a relationship with Eddie. She displays the grief that only a mother must feel when their child dies without overdoing the theatrics. Jon Foster is a young naïve Eddie, who manages to look dumbstruck by his involvement in the Cole's dilemma yet by the end of the summer, he looks years older and wiser. The support cast include Elle Fanning as Ruth - who couldn't resist this gorgeous girl - and Mimi Rogers as Evelyn Vaughn, a model and distraction for Ted.

The settings for 'The Door In The Floor' reflect the feelings and desires of the players - open, windswept, sometimes bleak and often desolate - colour also not a major factor here, much like the lives of the Cole's. The title of the movie comes from the title of one of Ted's children's books that he writes and illustrates - in fact, Jeff Bridges did all the drawings for the books and many of the sketches of Evelyn. The title could be a metaphor for so many aspects of this movie, but having seen this much of the novel adapted for the screen, it can only make one keen to seek out the novel and discover what happens next.

Rating : B+

Christina Bruce