> Volume 6 > Number 24


Tod Williams

Jeff Bridges
Jon Foster
Kim Basinger
Elle Fanning
Mimi Rogers
Bijou Phillips

Release: 14 Jul. 04

The Door in the Floor


Set in a part of the Hamptons devoid of the Hilton sisters, The Door in the Floor arrives as the latest gutted John Irving novel which, like Simon Birch, changes the original title (A Widow for One Year) because the modifications are so large. In fact, this version of The Door in Floor is really only the first third of the novel, and, evidently, the part least likely to be made into a good movie.

Channeling the mediocrity gods that floundered The Shipping News, this excessively metaphorical tale of a sexual awakening and a collapsing marriage created by the long-term wake for dead children is less story and more ambiance. Thatís all said and good when the ambiance is palpable and creates a truly fortuitous bond with the story (as was proven with In the Bedroom, for example), but this is mostly stifling, poring over plot details heedlessly to prepare for another sequence on the techniques of writing and philandering. Not for a moment is it truly commanding, which is disappointing considering the noble attempt by star Jeff Bridges to give some life to the proceedings.

At one point in the film, Bridges sits and reads aloud the fictitious childrenís book that gives the film its title. For a couple minutes, the film seems at one with itself, understanding the purity of mere speech and simple imagery. Itís a wonderful segment that proves a film of Jeff Bridges reading the phone book as the pictures of his subjects project behind him would be more engaging than the rest of The Door in the Floor

©2004, David Perry,, 11 June 2004