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?
Radically downsized in scope, and its examination of the issue of abortion greatly softened, John Irving's sixth novel (with a Dickensian screenplay by the author) has been turned into a lovely World War II-era fable about a young man venturing out into the world. Tobey Maguire is Homer Wells, a doleful innocent raised in an orphanage by Dr. Wilbur Larch (Michael Caine), who performs abortions. Fleeing the institution with a golden young couple (Charlize Theron and Paul Rudd), he becomes an apple picker. Sentimental but smart, the movie has the sweetness and narrative drive of a 1940's "David Copperfield." — Stephen Holden.
1999-12-10 | Stephen Holden | Read the New York Times Review of The Cider House Rules