The Door in the Floor Tod Williams

By some accounts, the most remarkable thing about Tod Williams's The Door in the Floor is the young director's visionary adaptation of John Irving's novel, A Widow for One Year. Rather than compact the expansive, time-travelling story into the stunted confines of a conventional film, Williams has focused on the first third of Irving's book. This plot follows a perverse love triangle involving writer Ted Coles (Jeff Bridges) and his wife Marion (Kim Basinger), whose marriage has been uprooted by the loss of their two sons in a car accident. Shell-shocked, Marion has never truly recovered from the loss of her sons, which has affected her ability to unconditionally love her death-obsessed five-year-old daughter Ruth (Elle Fanning). Their disintegrating family is further complicated by the arrival of Ted's new writing assistant, a high schooler named Eddie O'Hare (Jon Foster). In an attempt to soothe his wife after he initiates their separation, the philandering Ted selects Eddie from a yearbook photo based on his resemblance to one of his late sons. Sexually innocent, Eddie soon winds up in an erotic relationship with Marion, who gains some form of catharsis by having a boy to care for again. It's a rather twisted dynamic but it is rendered so lovingly that the characters come off likable regardless of what their actions are. A "making of" feature plus a commentary track provides excellent insight as to how Williams and his talented production team poured over every scene, ensuring that the lighting, photography and score all helped convey the gravity of each moment on screen. Irving can't say enough about Williams's approach to adaptation, lauding the director's ability to capture the heart of his characters in just one aspect of his longer story. Add incredible performances by a lively Bridges, a catatonic Basinger and a maturing-before-your-eyes Foster, and The Door in the Floor can't help but pack an emotionally intense punch. (Alliance Atlantis)