In contrast to some of the other Best Picture nominees of 1999, such as American Beauty and The Sixth Sense, The Cider House Rules didn't pick up much momentum at the box office until after the nominations were revealed. Despite the respectable amount of nominations it received, The Cider House Rules was praised by some and scorned by others, or at least not considered Oscar-caliber.
And in truth, The Cider House Rules is not Oscar worthy. Michael Caine won an Academy Award for his supporting character in this movie, the ether-sniffing Dr. Larch, and while he does a really good job, I wouldn't consider his performance exceptional. I can see it winning "Best Adapated Screenplay," and it did (John Irving wrote both the book and screenplay), but Best Picture? No.
Does that mean The Cider House Rules is a bad movie? Absolutely not. In fact, the movie is very entertaining to watch. It has drama, it has issues, and it has good acting... It's just not Oscar-caliber.
The most prominent issue in The Cider House Rules is abortion. Abortion, being one of the most debated topics of today, has split the nation on how to handle it. The Cider House Rules presents an idea: Let women chose what they want to do. So, what I'm trying to say is that if you are anti-abortion, you may not like this movie, because while the main character, Homer Wells (Tobey Maguire), is opposed to abortion, in the end he must go against what he believes is right to save a family. I really like how cunning and forward the movie is about abortion.
At the same time, there is also a relationship going on between Homer (Maguire) and Candy (Charlize Theron), who's longtime boyfriend is away fighting in World War II. So The Cider House Rules is an issue-stimulating film and a romance at the same time.
The Cider House Rules is a good movie with good issues and characters. The movie is never slow and is always entertaining. It might not be as good as the Oscars made it out to be, but The Cider House Rules is definitely a movie worth watching.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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