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The Cider House Rules

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All-Reviews.com Movie Review: The Cider House Rules

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Michael Caine
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 131 Minutes
Release Date: December 1999
Genre: Drama


*Also starring: Delroy Lindo, Paul Rudd, Jane Alexander, Kathy Baker, Erykah Badu, Charlize Theron, Kieran Culkin, Kate Nelligan



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Review by Susan Granger
4 stars out of 4

Adapted by John Irving from his own best-seller, this is the extraordinary story of one boy's journey into maturity in the 1940s. Homer Wells (Tobey Maguire) grew up in a sheltered existence at an orphange in St. Clouds, Maine, under the kindly, paternal care of ether-addicted Dr. Larch (Michael Caine) who, each night, after reading a chapter from Charles Dickens, bid the wistful, unwanted boys a poignant "Good night, you princes of Maine, you kings of New England." As Larch's favorite, Homer learns a lot about performing safe, if illegal, abortions but less about right and wrong. Which is why he decides to explore the outside world, hitching a ride with a young woman (Charlize Theron) and her fiance (Paul Rudd), an Air Force pilot. Taking a job as an apple picker, he joins a black migrant worker crew, headed by Mr. Rose (Delroy Lindo) and his daughter (Erykah Badu). Director Lasse Hallstrom is sensitively and affectionately in tune with Irving's off-beat, idiosyncratic characters, eliciting substantial, Oscar-caliber performances as Homer copes with a crisis of conscience involving abortion, medical ethics and racial prejudice. Wide-eyed and impressionable, Tobey Maguire is delicately convincing, particularly as he's dazzled by luminous Charlize Theron. Michael Caine not only masters the elusive accent but captures the fierce intensity and enormously touching vulnerability of Larch. And edgy Delroy Lindo is tender yet terrifying, never hitting a false note. The fable-like quality is greatly enhanced by Oliver Stapleton's vivid, impressionistic photography. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, The Cider House Rules is a haunting 10. Mixing quirky humor, menace, and pathos, it's an emotionally uplifting experience - one of the best pictures of the year.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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