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Adaptation

2002 Comedy Drama

The creative team behind Being John Malkovich -- director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman -- return with this equally offbeat comedy, in which Kaufman himself becomes the leading character. Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage) is a gifted but profoundly neurotic screenwriter who, after the success of Being John Malkovich, has been hired to write a script adapted from the nonfiction book The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean. But while Charlie is obsessive about his work, he's also intensely paranoid, given to deep depression, socially inept, and terrified of talking to women, qualities which are making it difficult to get on with his work or hold on to his tenuous relationship with girlfriend Amelia (Cara Seymour). Meanwhile, Charlie's identical twin brother, Donald Kaufman (also played by Cage), has shown up to move in with his brother. Emotionally, Donald is Charlie's polar opposite -- a loudmouthed, over-confident, superficial party animal who has an easy way with the ladies. Donald has decided to follow his brother's footsteps and take up screenwriting as well, but embracing the dictates of screenwriting tutor Robert McKee (Brian Cox), he's cranking out a cliché-ridden serial-killer thriller when not busy making time with new girlfriend Caroline (Maggie Gyllenhaal). As Donald blazes through his screenplay, Charlie slowly picks away at his story, in which author Susan Orlean (Meryl Streep) chronicles John Laroche (Chris Cooper), a scruffy but devoted plant enthusiast who tries to save rare species of orchids by stealing them from their natural home in the swamps of Florida. As John and Susan become better acquainted, they find themselves attracted to one another; similarly, Charlie finds himself increasingly fascinated with Susan, and finds himself falling in love with her, even though he's only seen her photo on the dust jacket of her book. Charlie arranges to meet Susan, but is too nervous to confront her face to face, so he sends Donald (who has just scored a seven-figure deal for his script) in his place, while he attends a screenwriting seminar held by McKee. Adaptation also features Tilda Swinton, Judy Greer, and Stephen Tobolowsky. more..

Director: Spike Jonze

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Tilda Swinton,Brian Cox

Reviews

  • I realize that the fear of contracting writer's block from a fictional character is crazy, but in the brilliantly scrambled, self-consuming world of Adaptation it has a certain plausibility.

    Dana Stevens - The New York Times

    29 November 2012

  • It's typical of the nerve, the bravado, the sheer giddy playfulness and sense of fun that characterize what has to be the boldest and most imaginative studio film of the year.

    Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times

    29 November 2012

  • What a bewilderingly brilliant and entertaining movie this is.

    Roger Ebert - The Chicago Sun-Times

    29 November 2012

  • Screenwriting this smart, inventive, passionate and rip-roaringly funny is a rare species. It's magic.

    Peter Travers - Rolling Stone

    29 November 2012

  • Surely the most creative trick of the year and grimly funny throughout.

    Stephen Hunter - The Washington Post

    29 November 2012

Awards

  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role

    Academy Awards (2003)

  • Best Edited Feature Film - Comedy or Musical

    American Cinema Editors (2003)

     
  • Best Screenplay - Adapted

    BAFTA Awards (2003)

  • Jury Grand Prix

    Berlin International Film Festival (2003)

  • Best Screenplay

    Boston Society of Film Critics Awards (2002)