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The Cider House Rules,
This review is from: The Cider House Rules [DVD]  (DVD)
“Cider House Rules” is a moving and atmospheric film which takes two extremely contentious subject matters, abortion and incest, and weaves a touching storyline about them.
St Cloud’s is a remote orphanage set in rural Maine. Dr Wilbur Larch (Michael Caine) runs the orphanage on a shoestring budget with only two matronly nurses to help him. He names one orphaned child Homer Wells (Tobey Maguire) and after a couple of failed adoption attempts it looks like Homer will be adopted by the orphanage itself and Dr Larch sets about training Homer to take over his duties. Although having undergone no medical training at all Homer proves himself to be just as capable physician as Dr Larch, although on the question of abortion the two men greatly differ.
One day a young couple arrive at the orphanage, he’s a USAF Pilot and she’s “in the club”, for Homer on the other hand this spells an escape out of the home. The pilot, Wally Worthington’s parents own a large apple plantation and on the drive away from the orphanage he offers Homer a job as a picker.
Homer is delivered to the plantation where he is given a bunk in the barn alongside the other pickers, a nomadic group of immigrants who travel up and down the east coast picking the various fruits of the seasons. The leader of this motley crew is Mr Rose, a welcoming but also dangerous looking man who is accompanied by his daughter, the enigmatically named Rose Rose. With Wally sent away to fly the “Burma Run” his girlfriend Candy Kendall (Charlize Theron) starts spending more and more time with Homer and a lovely gentle love story between the two of them starts to develop.
In many ways for all the social and moral dilemmas that the “Cider House Rules” throws up, it doesn’t actually answer any of them or even attempt to answer them. In the case of abortion it shows the opposing views of Homer and Dr Larch but in the case of incest it presents a rather confusing picture. The film works best in its sentimental and romantic views on life. The developing love story between Homer and Candy is gently sweet and classically romantic and excellently presented.
The performances are fantastic, Tobey Maguire shows a competence and skill beyond his years and Charlize Theron is delightful. Delroy Lindo deserves special mention for his portrayal of Mr Rose, who is both monster and nice guy all in one. The children of the orphanage also put in performances of great skill, especially Kieran Culkin. Michael Caine won a best supporting actor Oscar for this performance, which I would maybe argue is not his best ever, but is a fine turn without any doubt.