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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unique- but not for everybody
From the reviews posted here, it would seem there is no middle ground reaction to this film. Like marmite you either love it or hate it. I loved it- it is one of my favourite films of all time, and one that I could watch again and again.

It is off beat, quirky, breaks all the rules of storytelling in film, and yet has so many layers it challenges the viewer to...
Published on 5 Jan 2007 by Miss B

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3.0 out of 5 stars A little too clever
I bought this because I saw it some years ago and thought I remembered enjoying it. But with Nicolas Cage playing two roles, neither very attractive, and a setting of insecurity and angst in the steamy southern US it wasn't so enjoyable this time.
Everyone works very hard, but the story is so improbable that even Streep can't save it
Published 16 months ago by Roger Taylor


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3.0 out of 5 stars A little too clever, 21 Mar 2013
By 
Roger Taylor (Marlow, Bucks, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Adaptation [DVD] (DVD)
I bought this because I saw it some years ago and thought I remembered enjoying it. But with Nicolas Cage playing two roles, neither very attractive, and a setting of insecurity and angst in the steamy southern US it wasn't so enjoyable this time.
Everyone works very hard, but the story is so improbable that even Streep can't save it
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Confusing but rewarding: an underrated oddity, 3 Feb 2005
By 
This review is from: Adaptation [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Adaptation is a movie adapted from a book about adapting a movie from a book. It stars Nicholas Cage as both Charlie Kaufman and his fictitious brother Donald, and was written by Charlie and Donald, despite the latter not existing. Confused yet?
Adaptation, like Jonze and Kaufman's first movie Being John Malkovich, is a movie which deliberately misleads and confuses the viewer in order to dazzle them. Nicholas Cage is compelling as real-life screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, a "fat-arse" self-depreciating loser who's writing a screenplay to the book The Orchid Thief. Meryl Streep is the author of The Orchid Thief, about John Laroche (Chris Cooper)'s love of the Orchid. The two's strange relationship becomes an important part of the film. Distracted by his brother Donald (also Cage) and his failing love life, it suggests the difficulty of adapting books to scripts. At times, it can be hilarious (Donald provides good comic relief with his awful script, which is then notched up by a production company), and at times deeply sad and moving, in its portrayal of depressed, obsessive insomniac Charlie, suffering from writer's block.
The performances are superb, with Streep and Cage outstanding, deserving the Academy Awards they're nominated for (see right). Being a movie about constructing a screenplay, the script is naturally funny, clever and gorgeously dark. Its emotional quality is something you wouldn't find in conventional comedies.
It is, however, extremely surreal and downright weird. Some may find it too baffling to be enjoyable. But this is what makes Adaptation demand a second viewing: it needs to be seen twice to take everything in, and perhaps to understand the torment and behaviour of the characters without spending time on the twisting plot.
Adaptation may be a surreal, dark movie perhaps too strange for some tastes, but stunning performances, a classy script and masterful direction make this hugely recommended. It's a beautiful, if not easy, look at human behaviour and emotional points in people's lives melted into surrealism and, at times, unbelievable scenarios. A movie of this quality and awe-inspiring beauty is as rare as John Laroche's beloved Ghost Orchid.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Repeated viewings recommended, 29 May 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Adaptation [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
As a student studying creative writing at university, 'Adaptation' is an invaluable insight into the process of screenwriting and, even more importantly and intriguing, the mind of a screenwriter. The fact that the writer in question is Charlie Kaufman, respected and revered amongst us writer-types for his previous works; 'Being John Malkovich' and 'Human Nature' (he is also author of the new 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind') is an added bonus. He justifiably mocks the screenwriting industry, "don't use that word", in fact the movie turns into a parody of formulaic thrillers. But Kaufman's (and his fictitious brother) story is not the only one here. Susan Orlean, author of the book on which the film is very loosely based, is brought in as a character: so we have the writer of the book and the writer of the screenplay, and of course the story of the book itself - three stories interweaving. Having watched the film countless times, you notice something new - usually excruciatingly clever - every time. The scriptbook is also available from Amazon for those who want to work it all out at a more leisurely pace!
But don't be put off by all my technical rubbish, 'Adaptation' is also a brilliant film in its own right, even if Kaufman and director Spike Jonze ensure that it is impossible to take it purely at face value.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Crazy Kaufman, 1 May 2012
By 
Mr. A. S. Brown (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Adaptation [DVD] (DVD)
Off it's tits. In a good way.
Nice to see Nic Cage proving that he is actually capable of acting once in a while (and in multiple roles), and Meryl doesn't attempt to steal the show for once. Excellent ensemble cast, typical bonkersness given the Kaufman/Jonze pairing. It's not Malkovich, but few films are.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useless Review, 20 Aug 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Adaptation [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I'm not going to write a huge long review.
I bought this DVD because I could watch Nicolas Cage paint a wall. I'd heard about the Oscar nominations etc but didn't know anything about the plot (and won't reveal anything about it - for anyone else).
This review is basically to share my thoughts. I watched this on my own and at times thought I was getting bored and fidgety and looked at the DVD time display a few times (not a good sign), HOWEVER, when this film finished I sat there and bought up the 3 mins trailer (a DVD extra). I suddenly realised what a complete journey I'd been on, just as I am sure was intended by the makers//actors. This is a brilliant film and Cage is (as normal, only better) than usual. Streep I can take or leave and don't always agree with some of her oscar nominations but she totally deserved this one. Superb!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, 22 Oct 2008
This review is from: Adaptation [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
This film is very unique in its narrative and very clever. I loved the comedic moments in the film from Nicholas Cage, and Chris Cooper and Meryl Streep are hilarious as John Laroche and Susan Orlean. Its a different kind of story where the first part of the film is based on true life with Susan Orlean writing a book about John Laroche, the Orchid thief. Ther meetings are shown in flashbacks as Charlie Kaufman is attempting to write a screenplay about the book. The second part of the film is complete fiction and illustrates everything that Kaufman didn't want in his screenplay - drugs, sex, car chases etc. The unexpected action scene comes as a shock to the viewer and at the end you are wondering what the hell just happened! An excellent film that really stands out on its own. Its not a hollywood blockbuster movie, its both comedy and action and it doesn't suit everyones taste but i love it nontheless. Sometimes its good to see a different kind of film. A well deserved oscar for Chris Cooper and another nomination for Meryl Streep (which she should have definatley won!)
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14 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Adaptation, 19 July 2005
By 
Rich Milligan (Thatcham, Berkshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Adaptation [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
It's really interesting to read the other reviews here and see this film fall into two very distinct categories. There's the obvious fans of the film, who lapped up every quirk and jerk of the outing, and those that have been left less impressed by the almost nothingness of the whole film.
I, myself, fall into the later category. For me the film was limp, tiresome and just generally boring. I don't need a film to provide me with thrills, spills and a hundred and one explosions to keep my interest, I don't even need scene after scene of gratuitous nudity, but I do need some sort of drive and purpose to the film whereas this was just a mess of jumbled ramblings with no end in sight.
The film is obviously very well made, the filming is good and precise and executed with a sharp eye for details. Likewise the performances are fine with both Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep putting in fine acting performances. Chris Cooper possibly steals the show and I can well understand why he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for this. But at the end of the day none of the characters that they are playing are simply interesting.
The film even takes the Mickey out of itself with the ranting Brian Cox as screenwriter guru Robert McKee berating Charlie Kaufman for daring to suggest that he was writing a screenplay about nothing. Kaufman tells his brother that voice-overs should never be used, just as the audience have been treated to the very thing. But this doesn't come across as self-depreciating humour. It comes across as sleeve sniggering pretentiousness.
I'm happy some people enjoyed it, and I'm sure that there is an audience out there who will love this, but for me, even though two of the films I have most enjoyed recently are American Beauty and About Schmidt, films of a similar focus and pace, this one left me cold.
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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At last, some treat for your grey cells., 10 Aug 2004
By 
This review is from: Adaptation [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
For me, Adaptation is, and will always be a satire on Hollywood with an algorithmic structure. And sadly enough, it is this dominant shade of being ironically mirthful that one can't help but being not affected by it completely. As it degenerates into "yet another" Hollywood film in the second half to offer a proof of the stuff Hollywood's crammed with (sloppy mushy sentimentality, life-redeeming lessons, drama, sex, car-chases, drugs) from what had started out to be a near-nil-conflict chronicle of an orchid thief (with lush, novel ideas about Darwin and extinction and exotic foliage), one can't help but marvel at the devastatingly original overall concept, but moved emotionally, one might not be [it isn't the film's intention anyway, so that's okay].
And quite amusingly, the movie makes no two bones about taking a dig at itself as well. The speech at the Robert McKee's story seminar, midway through the film, can well be the film's most perfect and comprehensive critique. With such fantastic self-awareness, it would be wrong to say that Adaptation isn't a brave, new film. For in all sense of words, it is all this and much more. For starters, there's a sumptuous lot of matter for grey-cells to gorge upon.
Like there's a casual stab on how differently the two mediums of leisure- cinema and books work. Interestingly enough, moving more intrinsically, the parallel drawn between the Kaufman brothers could well be a metaphor for the parallel betwixt saddeningly reducing original cinema and maddeningly flourishing rehashed cinema.
And then the omnipresent question -- Why "adaptation" as a title? In my words, it was about the living world affecting art, the people affecting artists, influencing their work everyday, and it only took little more than a single interaction for this influence to show in mediums of art. As McKee answers Charlie in the middle of film "You said nothing happens in the real world? Are you out of your mind? People are murdered everyday. There's genocide, war, corruption. Everyday, somewhere in the world somebody sacrifices his life to save somebody else. Everyday, someone somewhere takes a conscious decision to destroy someone else. People find love. People lose it.... somebody gopes hungry, somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman. If you can't find all this life, then you, my friend don't know crap about life." Evidently enough, Donald, Charlie's happy-go-lucky brother's rehashed thriller screenplay is a sellout even as Charlie struggles to find a thread in his. Because Charlie fails to see the world around him. The moving, hustling-bustling world. The world full of drama, love, betrayal, disappointment, depseration, sex, drugs, fast car-chases, changing characters, life-redeeming lessons.
In all, art imitates life; its affected by the environment around it, by the people around it, and successful artists adapt to this change through interaction [like when Donald meets Susan and then the freewheeling mystery about the real Susan unfolds as he spies on her turning the whole film to a grand conclusion] while self-pitying, self-deprecating, paranoid-perfectionists who think they are unoblivious about the world around them, and by being loners they'll know it [like Charlie, who's mystified by Susan's writing and photograph-- which is, not the real Susan as the film hangs onto the first half], remain, well, confused. Adaptation is the key to survival--for plants, animals, people, artists.

Aside from the underlying interpretations and the linked philosphies, Adaptation boasts of some wrenchingly seasoned performances with each of the veterans cosseted deep into the instinct of the characters. So much so that however excellent Meryl Streep might be, she remains as detached, as uncommunicative and as unlikeable as Susan should be. Ditto for Chris Cooper, though the addition of sentimentality and awe to his character as he's the muse for Susan's book, adds a sparkle of effectuality which Cooper is all too happy to bask in.
And as for Nicholas Cage, who dominates every frame in the twin brother act, in one word he's spectacular. Besides keeping the layered energy of the film much intact, the consistency in his histrionics, especially towards the second half, where the real-Hollywood-syndrome sets in is awe-inspiring [esp. the scene where Donald says "You are what you love and not what loves you"--ironically, a life-redeeming lesson]. Be it the camaradarie between the twins, the bizzareness of Charlie, or the lucidity of Donald, Cage sails through a lifetime of emotions effortlessly. Of the supporting cast, Brian Cox (as McKee) and Cara Seymour (as Amelia) are exceptional and so are the acoustics. The throughly effective visuals are breathtaking [the 10-second evolution video], unsettling [the car-crashes, the swamp] and undistracting [the twin-brother act is so wonderfully conceptualised sans any snazzy or strange visual effects].
Overall, being a stimulating, gripping satire meant it is not completely moving [and might be mistaken as pointless by a casual viewer] but its a sickeningly clever and innovative film that'll have you pondering bigtime in the first half and guessing in the second and you'll appreciate it more everytime you think about it. If its time you did some thinking about creativity, about art, about changing cinema... then maybe its time, you watched Adaptation. Very stimulating.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the reviewer starts to write, 3 Sep 2008
By 
2cleverbyhalf (somewhere in the future) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Adaptation [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
As Brad Pitt sits down at his laptop he wonders who will pretend to be him in the film of him writing his review on Amazon. He looks in the mirror and is slightly startled by the sight of a bald man with a big nose and bad skin.
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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars what?, 28 Sep 2006
This review is from: Adaptation [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
As duncun repeatedly says this film is 'seroiusly f.ucked up'. I still have abolutely no idea what went on. I think the whole idea was taken slightly toofar and lost most of any interesting plot that may have existed in the original idea. Others may like it but frankly I was glad when the credits finally rolled.
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Adaptation [DVD] [2003]
Adaptation [DVD] [2003] by Spike Jonze (DVD - 2003)
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