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Laramie Movie Scope:
The Door in the Floor

The heartbreak and folly of artists

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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January 1, 2005 -- This one of those stories about a dysfunctional family led by an artistic, lecherous patriarch. It seems like I've seen a million of these over the years, and wouldn't mind it if I never saw another one. Even after saying all of that, it is a pretty good example of the genre, benefitting from some great performances.

Jon Foster of “Life As a House” stars as college student Eddie O'Hare. He is hired to assist a famed children's author Ted Cole (played by Jeff Bridges of “Seabiscuit”), the aforementioned lecherous patriarch. He and his wife, Marion (played by Kim Basinger of “8 Mile”) are separated. She is in mourning over the tragic deaths of her two sons, one of whom is a dead ringer for the aforementioned college student assistant, Eddie O'Hare.

While the patriarch carries on a torrid affair with Evelyn Vaughn (Mimi Rogers of “Lost in Space,” who appears fully nude in all her Rabelaisian splendor), one of his many nude models, his wife carries on a torrid affair with Eddie O'Hare. Everybody is aware of everyone else's affair. The couple's young daughter, Ruth (Elle Fanning, sister of Dakota Fanning) is caught in the middle of this sexual crossfire, but she bears up. Believe me all this is even more Bohemian than it sounds. Why again is this supposed to be interesting? It isn't exactly aimed at the typical Red State audience. The very premise would be devoid of traction it weren't for the comedy in it.

Despite all the lust, heavy breathing and some hard feelings, nothing really changes, however. Everyone just moves on. I guess that makes this a comedy, despite the heavy dramatic overtones. There are, in fact, many comic scenes in the film. There is an amusing dustup at the end of the movie which causes a minor ruckus. A woman scorned chases Ted Cole down the street with a car as he flees for his life. I know, it doesn't sound funny, but trust me. One priceless scene involves the young college student writing a note in a frame studio explaining why he needs a picture framed immediately. The scene is in no way believable, but it is very funny.

The acting in the film is excellent, especially Jeff Bridges, who is perfect as the dissipated, amoral, wise, foolish writer. His casual nude scenes are hilarious. What fools these mortals be! The musical score by Marcelo Zarvos (“Kissing Jessica Stein”) is also good, as is the cinematography by Terry Stacey (“American Splendor”) If only the movie was real and I was Eddie O'Hare! But I'm not the only person with that fantasy. This film rates a B.

For more information on this film, including about the film (story and production notes), filmmakers, trailer, stills, click on this link to the official home page of The Door in the Floor. This is one of those rare sites that doesn't use a lot of shockwave content, so it loads very fast.

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Copyright © 2005 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)