After a couple week break from reviews, I'm back with a new one! I'm going to be reviewing the film 'Adaption'.
The movie follows the story of Charlie Kaufman (the actual screenwriter of 'Adaptation'), as he writes the script for the movie version of a book based on a piece from "The New Yorker". What's more, the script that's being written in the film is the actual script for the movie about the script being written. Kind of meta. It's a very thought provoking film, especially for one like myself. I'm in the process of writing a satirical spy film, which I hope to someday produce and direct. I've rewritten many a scene over and over, and I've spent countless hours, sleepless, fretting over a scene. In that way I feel strongly connected to Charlie.
This film really gives you a lot to think about. First, there's Donald. (This is about to get very spoilery.)
In the end of the film, Donald Kaufman, the twin brother of Charlie, dies. Now, Donald never actually existed in real life. And I think that he never existed in the movie either. After he dies, we see paramedics wheeling a gurney into the back of an ambulance. And nobody's on it. However, it is entirely plausible that he was in another ambulance. Also, when Charlie calls his mother crying, he never says anything. I think that he just wanted to call his mother after a traumatizing experience, rather than tell her that Donald died. It's just a theory, but I think it has some merit.
Another amazing thing about this movie is how it brings up so many rules and "dos and don'ts" of screenwriting. but it breaks them all throughout the course of the film. Some prominent examples are: During a seminar taught by a screenwriting expert, Cage is doing a voice over. It is interrupted by the expert, saying "And God help you if you put a voice over in your movie. It's lazy and there are better ways to get a character's thoughts across." and when Charlie tells Donald that his film can't have a chase scene, and the movie has a chase scene in the third act. There are so many more, all sprinkled through the movie.
Now let's talk about the acting. Nicolas Cage is currently known for over the top acting and even more over the top eye bulges and freak outs. But, in this film, he... well. He played Charlie Kaufman and his twin brother, Donald. He has an amazing subtlety to his performance, which I certainly did not expect. He gives both characters such vibrant life, but each has their own personality, their own gaits, their own little quirks. Cage's performance in this film may be one of my favorite performances I've seen. Now, the other actors do a phenomenal job supporting Cage, and bringing their own characters to life. Meryl Streep plays Susan Orlean, the author of the book 'The Orchid Thief', which is a real book, that this film (partly) adapts. She brings a nuance to each scene that is very rare to see. Chris Cooper plays John Laroche, the subject of Susan's initial piece for 'the New Yorker'. He hits some stereotypes at first, but it all shifts, and he becomes an actual human being further in. He shows this change very well, and portrays the character beautifully.
All in all, this is an extremely powerful film, wrought with emotions and meaning. I highly recommend that you watch this film. It will leave you with many a thought whirling around in your brain, and lots to chew on. This film is probably in my list of favorite movies!
This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!
Well, before I do... I'm the Production Stage Manager and Co-Adapter for a stage adaptation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. We currently have a fundraiser going to help pay for the rehearsal space and the theater space. We only have 18 more days to fund it, or we can't put on the show. Every dollar helps, so donate whatever you can! Link: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/dut66/ab/14KEA9
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