With his taste for lengthy melodrama and his idiosyncratic sensibility, John Irving has proved a tricky source for movie-makers; Hallström's film is problematic, but probably the most successful attempt at capturing the tenor, if not the full scope of Irving's vision. Passive and discreet, Maguire is well cast as Homer Wells, the protégé of Dr Larch (Caine, with credible New England accent), who must break free of his mentor to reach full maturity. The first and last acts hold up well enough, with a standout supporting turn from Lindo, but the romantic middle section is less interesting, and Hallström's humanism is possibly a little low key and romantic given such tough themes as abortion and incest.
Cast and crew
Tobey Maguire Charlize Theron Delroy Lindo Paul Rudd Michael Caine Jane Alexander Kathy Baker Kieran Culkin Kate Nelligan