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The Cider House Rules

The Cider House Rules (1999)

December. 17,1999
| Drama

Homer is an orphan who was never adopted, becoming the favorite of orphanage director Dr. Larch. Dr. Larch imparts his full medical knowledge on Homer, who becomes a skilled, albeit unlicensed, physician. But Homer yearns for a self-chosen life outside the orphanage. What will Homer learn about life and love in the cider house? What of the destiny that Dr. Larch has planned for him?


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Growing up in an orphanage, Homer always wonders what the outside world looks like. Despite the affection he received inside the orphanage, he insists on exploring the world outside. During the time outside experiencing life, he gradually realized the fact that the orphanage is the place where he belongs to. This is the aspect in the story that fascinates me. We grow up in some place and become familiar with this particular place. It is this familiarity that leads us to forget how good this place is and how deeply we are connected with the place. Only by leaving the place can we realize our deeply attachment with the place. Some of the most touching poems in ancient China is about poets' nostalgia. Homer is lucky because in the movie, he finally come back to the orphanage and become the director of the orphanage. I hope that some day I will come to realize the place where I want to come back to and spend the rest of my life.


Homer is among many of the orphans in Dr. Larch's orphanage, Homer has was to be adopted twice when young but ended back in the orphanage becoming one of the oldest orphans there and Dr. Larch's favorite. Dr. Larch taught homer all medical knowledge he possessed, who becomes a skilled doctor but unlicensed. Homer wondered what life outside the orphanage would be like so when Wally and Candy visit the orphanage for an abortion Homer leaves with them and ended up working for Wally's family apple farm. Wally takes off to war leaving his girlfriend Candy and Homer at the cider house, where Homer learns a lot about love and life, in the end he returns to the orphanage to carry on Dr. Larch's work. One of the themes present in the film is, rules have different interpretations depending on the situation. In the film Homer was always against abortion, because it was the rule. But towards the end of the film he ended up performing an abortion himself. Some of the techniques which makes this film a good film includes the transitions between scenes and how the movie is shot. In this film you don't get to see jumps between scenes, they use ease you in to a scene and ease you out it using smooth transitions. A good example is the scene where Homer and Dr. Larch read letter that they wrote to one another, you can see how they switch from one scene to the other and also utilizing a montage like technique where time moves faster and they basically move you from one season to another. Cider house rules is a good film that really shows how important other aspects of the film making process are important in making the film good. The story is somewhat generic but how the story is presented is wonderful, it's simple but elegant. when you start watching the film it's a complete experience with beautiful music and dialogue, and the story feels complete, with techniques like montage they provide a lot of information in a short scene which helps connect the dots and make the film complete.


I've never gone to a movie BECAUSE Michael Caine was in, though I have gone to quite a few movies that Michael happened to be in. And it has always seemed to me that few A-list actors have so frequently been in awful movies AND been in so many top notch movies. So, I guess you could say I tolerated Michael Caine in films. But with this film, I came to truly appreciate his abilities.I had planned to go out with a woman friend to see "American Beauty", but when someone asked if I knew the premise of the film -- the desire for sex with an underage girl -- I changed our plans and we went to see "The Cider House Rules"...which to my dismay turned out to be about abortion. I'm not sure that was a better film choice for a date movie.I have to admit that my liking of this movie has improved a great deal over the years. Abortion simply makes me uncomfortable. I'm politically pro-choice, but morally pro-life...although it's a difficult topic. But watching a movie like this shouldn't be about affirming or knocking down your political views, it should be about being absorbed in the story.Michael Caine is simply brilliant here. He's certainly not a beloved character in this film -- an abortionist (when needed) and addicted to ether -- but it's not about loving the character, it's about respecting the profession of acting. And so, Michael Caine -- A+.I'm also not a fan of Tobey Maguire, but again, I felt he was terrific in this film! It just seems as if Mr. McGuire needs to pick his roles very carefully.I have long thought that Charlize Theron is one of the best actresses out there...as well as, perhaps, the most beautiful. She doesn't disappoint here in either category.I believe this was the first film I ever saw Paul Rudd in, and he's quite good here, and usually.Delroy Lindo does a great job here in a role that is hardly a crowd pleaser. He's as close as this film gets to having a villain. Rose Erykah Badu is good as Rose.Two of my favorite character actresses are here as nurses -- Jane Alexander and Kathy Baker.Will you like this film? I think it depends on whether you get wrapped in the politics of abortion, or if you just want to see an excellent film, which is what this is. I may not have felt comfortable in this film, but damn...it's great!


Dr. Wilbur Larch (Michael Caine) runs an orphanage located at the isolated train stop St. Cloud's, Maine. Homer Wells (Tobey Maguire) was twice rejected in adoptions and grows up to be Larch's apprentice. Larch teaches him everything including performing abortions but he disagrees on abortions. Everybody loves him. In 1943, Wally Worthington (Paul Rudd) and girlfriend Candy Kendall (Charlize Theron) come for an abortion. Homer decides to leave the orphanage with them to everyone's chagrin including Dr. Larch. He works at their apple farm staying in their Cider House with the seasonal workers. Wally goes off to war. Candy and Homer start an affair together. Dr. Larch is setting up for Homer to return as the new doctor in the orphanage as Larch fakes all the medical credentials even without Homer's approval.The movie floats through many points and many themes in this story. The movie opens with a slow but interesting orphanage story. When Homer leaves the orphanage, the movie diffuses the attention between him and back at the orphanage. It is still interesting but the movie loses some of the little intensity. The romance lacks a certain heat. I don't think Tobey Maguire is a particularly good romantic lead. The story does have a nice slow burn. It's a fascinating dark poetic feel that keeps pulling back the audience. It takes some dark turns. The movie is based on a novel. Like many of these adaptations, it's a tough thing to squeeze a large book into a much shorter form.