The Door in the Floor (15)
Time Out saysThe beautiful Hamptons house of successful children’s writer Jeff Bridges is a monument to a tragic loss. While he and spouse Kim Basinger teeter on the verge of separation, the four-year-old daughter whose arrival was supposed to offer the couple a way forward from the deaths of their two teenage sons, spends her time poring over photographs of the brothers she never knew. Into this potential minefield arrives college-bound Jon Foster, hired as Bridges’ assistant for the summer, hoping to learn from the master, yet surprised to find a vain, self-absorbed, philandering boozer who needs a driver more than a research assistant. Still, there’s even more of a learning curve for the young man when his desire for the troubled yet alluring lady of the house meets a surprising response…
Basinger brings a doleful, bruised sensibility to her performance, which nearly succeeds in illuminating her character’s opaque motivations in this uneven adaptation of John Irving’s ‘A Widow for a Year’ (or at least an early section thereof). It’s evidently quality work, yet somehow unsatisfying because we feel there’s some vital missing connection which might make more sense of her dilemma. The rest of the movie’s the same, swervingly Irving-esque in its flip-flops from absurdist comedy to biting tragedy, always involving, yet somehow lacking a coherent context for Bridges’ wonderful central performance. Padding around in shapeless robes when he’s not buck naked, clinking glass in hand, he puts on the big teddy-bear act without completely disguising an underlying cruelty and self-indulgence born of deep foreboding. Bridges is worth the price of admission on his own, though it’s typical of this exasperatingly almost-good film that director Williams muffles his big final-reel monologue.
Fri Feb 11, 2005