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Academy Award® Winner
A confused and insecure screenwriter struggles to adapt a book, while dealing with his freeloading twin brother, the book's author, and the subject of her book. Their lives become strangely...  View more >

Starring Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper...  View more >

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Reviews Summary

Please Note: Reader Reviews are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions regarding this movie, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.

Jan 16, 2003
Cage and Streep were great. Uneven sceeenplay - awesome at times, weak at others.
Jan 16, 2003
"Adaptation" is a first-rate brilliantly made drama about the life of a screenwriter, whose is writing an adapted screenplay based on the book by a writer for New Yorker Magaizine.(played by Meryl Streep) Nicolas Cage plays the writer who being bothered by his twin brother, (also played by Cage) who is doing a screenplay of his own.

Spike Jonze who directed "Being John Malkovich," has directed another amazing movie. Charles Krufman wrote the screenplay. I was hooked into the film from start until the end. The film has everything. A must-see film.
Jan 17, 2003
Just when you think you've seen it all...turns out you haven't.

Don't let anyone tell you about this movie before you see it.

And, don't be surprised when you discover that you want to see it again. Simply brilliant.
Jan 20, 2003
I would say that this film is worthy of the price of admission. That's not to say it is without fault, but what piece of artwork is without fault, really?

In my opinion, it barely misses a "See Now!!" rating, yet it isn't quite there. I didn't care for the ending. I think the creators were trying to give the audience a kind of 'stream of consciousness' ending for the film.

That's to say, I don't believe they intended it to be a linear, point A to point Z type of film with an ending where everything is wrapped up in a nice and neat little package with a great summary in which all loose ends are tied together in a very logical, rational way. I think they wanted it to end in the present, but I don't believe they did a good job of it.

But with all that said, it's a neat experience and much, much better than most of the dribble that comes across the screen these days.....

I would recommend you go and see it.
Feb 14, 2003
This was such a wonderful movie. I really can\'t say enough positive things about it. I was really tired when I started watching. By the end of the film, I was completely energized. I was so excited about the themes, ideas and images I had just experienced.

I usually don\'t like Nicholas Cage but I was impressed with his performances here. He portrays the protagonist and his twin brother. The twin brother is actually one of my favorite characters. Meryl Streep is solid per usual.

I love the non-linear timeline and the wacky situations in this movie. Definitely a unique film and the best I\'ve seen in quite a while. I think I will head back to the theater a second time for this one.

Don\'t miss it!
Feb 18, 2003
Charlie Kaufman (Nicholas Cage) sits at his typewriter yearning for inspiration. His fingers remain still on the keyboard while his mind wanders into self-evaluation and self-criticism. He wants a cup of coffee. He needs an idea. A muffin might help. His identical twin brother, Donald, keeps pestering him with ludicrous ideas for a screenplay that have nothing to do with art but everything to do with pleasing the audience. Charlie still hasn\'t poured himself that cup of coffee, he\'s still balding, and his physique suffers because of all the time he spends sitting and staring at a blank piece of paper. He still doesn\'t have an idea. A banana-nut muffin sounds perfect.

Adaptation, adapted from the real Susan Orlean\'s novel The Orchid Thief by the real Charlie Kaufman and directed by Spike Jonze, follows the lives of the Kaufman brothers, Susan Orlean (Meryl Streep), and John Laroche (Chris Cooper). Orlean writes for The New Yorker, and like Charlie, often finds her work painstakingly tedious and unrewarding. Her literary talents award her success and a comfortable lifestyle, but she laments the fact that her abilities are void of passion. She knows how to use the English language, but she doesn\'t care about her subjects or the people in her life, which makes it impossible for her to find meaning in the world. She has the aptitude to relate her experiences to her readers through words, but she cannot appreciate her own experiences because she deems these experiences mundane and without significance. She observes Laroche, a free-spirited Floridian, with condescension for an article she extends into a novel that ultimately becomes the screenplay of Adaptation, but she longs for the ardor he exhibits on his hunts for the Ghost Orchid as much as Charlie longs for his muse to speak.

Writers are an eclectic group of people with vastly different ideas, views, abilities, creative processes, and lifestyles, but any writer will quickly empathize with one or all of the writers in this film. The frequent voice-overs used to reveal Charlie\'s thoughts, a no-no in writing seminar guru Robert McKee\'s (Brian Cox) book, are perfect--a conversation or an event always continues on long after its actual conclusion in a writer\'s head because the `what if\' game never ends. Despite the chronology enforced by actual time, life is not linear. Some writers believe in art for art\'s sake--others just want fame and fortune. Food and personal fantasy are constantly present in the subconscious and frequently impede one\'s ability to get words down on the page. The real Kaufman doesn\'t avoid stereotypes as stereotypes are rooted in truth; many writers are inherently depressed, moody, and never satisfied with themselves or the world around them, but this film resonates so true because the pervasive pessimism does not dominate the story. The real Kaufman knows writers and how writers think, act, and behave and this visceral understanding of these literary artists provides him with the insight to create memorable characters and memorable situations.

The film does not leave audience members grim-faced, but it is an unquestionable dark blend of comedy, drama, and suspense made believable even in its most outrageous moments by an accomplished cast. Cage\'s portrayal of the self-conscious Charlie, who is obsessed with what other people think and dismayed by the commercial entertainment industry, breathes life into the depressingly pathetic character; his portrayal of the upbeat Donald, who worships McKee and churns out an empty thriller destined to become a box-office blockbuster, is equally delightful. The script only required Streep to memorize one character\'s lines, but her performance demanded the same versatility delivered by Cage and she met the challenge with predictable skill. Cooper\'s character is more one-dimensional than the other leads, but his performance is just as commendable and his role provides the script with the action and surprise that leaves audience members anxiously awaiting the real Kaufman\'s next project.

The ending of Adaptation hardly matches the film\'s overall brilliance, but like the rest of the show, it is honest and provides hope even in less-than-perfect circumstances. Adaptation doesn\'t just speak to writers or even beg an audience that is familiar with a writer\'s mentality; it is a film that has something to say for any person who realizes or who will someday realize that change is not always a choice and that pursuing one\'s true passion is the only way to live. Passionate people speak poetically whether they are highly educated or not educated at all, other people don\'t see sadness in a passionate person\'s eyes, and public opinion doesn\'t matter when one pursues one\'s passion. Life is good and life has meaning, which procures true happiness, when passion fills the body. Some people can\'t imagine living life any other way and others have to adapt themselves to the pursuit of happiness, but this entertaining, heart-breaking, and unpredictable film suggests that it is ultimately the only way to make any sense of this crazy world.
Mar 28, 2003

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