Retro Review: Cider House Rules

The coming of age story of a orphan as he becomes faced with conflict between duty and exploration.

Based on the John Irving novel “The Cider House Rules” tells the story of orphan Homer Wells (Tobey Maguire) who is raised by orphanage doctor Wilbur Larch (Michael Caine).

Dr. Larch teaches Homer the magic of his craft. One day the orphanage is visited by a beautiful woman (Charlize Theron) and her GI boyfriend (Paul Rudd) this causes a dilemma for Homer. Does he really want to know what its like in the real world?

Another feeling Homer isn’t to sure about is his feelings for this woman. He decides to leave the orphanage in search of love and a new life.

“The Cider House Rules” is a feel good type film with an underlining of controversy. The controversy plagues a lot of mankind today. It being the abortion conflict between “Pro-Life” and “Pro-Choice”. Throughout most of the film, Maguire’s hero struggles with the morals of his mentor and exactly how will he approach that exact dilemma.

Without having read the novel, I am not sure what screenwriter/novelist John Irving left out of his novel but I found the story moving and interesting. Tobey Maguire delighted me with another hero role in the surprise of last year, “Pleasantville”.

That role and his in this film have a lot in common as they struggle with a decision that will vastly change each of their lives. Charlize Theron continues to find strong woman roles and juicy scripts as she hones her talent.

As for the chemistry between Maguire and Theron it is quite lacking and makes me think of a supermodel and a teen boy. Maguire’s depth never really fleshes out Homer as he seems to hide a lot of what is occurring within Homer.

What I did love in the film was the return of Michael Caine to a role he can be good at. He hasn’t had one since 1997 where he starred in two great roles. He played F.W. de Klerk in “Mandela and de Klerk” and Victor in “Blood and Wine”. The scenes with Caine were great.

(4 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer

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