Adaptation.

Film

Comedy drama

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5
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Time Out says

Something of a shrinking violet, Charlie Kaufman (Cage) is struggling to adapt Susan Orlean's non-fiction book The Orchid Thief into a movie. But he loves the book too much, and it's only when he writes himself into the script that the words start to grow. Even then, there's no third act. According to screenwriting guru Robert McKee (who also figures in the film, played by Brian Cox), this is 'your basic education plot, crisscrossed with a disillusionment plot, but in the broad category of autobiography'. The way I see it (and if Kaufman can write himself into the movie, I don't see why we shouldn't all join in), Adaptation. represents the absolute antithesis of the McKee doctrine of pre-fabricated story construction and reductive emotional 'arcs'. These guys are thinking way out of the box. The Hollywood-insider jibes cut all the more deeply for the fact that Kaufman obviously feels split about his own gifts and motivations (hence the inspired invention of his crass commercial 'twin', Donald, gratefully seized on by the exuberant Cage). But this discursive, unpredictable comedy is more than smoke and mirrors. It's truly astute about a certain diffidence which afflicts the intellectual elite (beautifully caught by Streep as Susan Orlean), about the self-consuming nature of obsession, and about orchids, come to that. For two-thirds of its running time the film is close to genius. But there's still no third act.
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Release details

UK release:

2002

Duration:

115 mins

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4.4 / 5

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Monique

Methinks this reviewer did NOT get the real premise of the movie. It's not about orchids, the intellectually diffident or obsession. It's a story about the process of writing a story. Period. The rest are simply devices of illustration. The MOVIE is the largest device. Not sure how else to explain it.

Monique

Methinks this reviewer did NOT get the real premise of the movie. It's not about orchids, the intellectually diffident or obsession. It's a story about the process of writing a story. Period. The rest are simply devices of illustration. The MOVIE is the largest device. Not sure how else to explain it.

Jake Germann

You need to elaborate on what the "third act" would have been. You are a writer, didn't they teach you in school never to leave loose ends? You made a comment on how there is no third act but you gave nothing of an explanation.