The Cider House Rules A review by Shlomoh Sherman
October 30, 2014
The Cider House Rules 
Director: Lasse Hallström
Writers: John Irving (novel), John Irving (screenplay)
Stars: Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron, Michael Caine
Plot: A compassionate young man, raised in an orphanage and trained to be a doctor there, decides to leave to see the world.
Plot Keywords: orphanage - love - doctor - cider - abortion -
Taglines: A story about how far we must travel to find the place where we belong.
Genres: Drama - Romance
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements, sexuality, nudity, substance abuse and some violence - Country: USA
Release Date: January 7, 2000 (USA)
Also Known As: Ciderhusreglerna
Filming Locations: Vermont, USA ,Bellows Falls, Vermont, USA - (Railroad station and adjacent buildings,) Brattleboro, Vermont, USA, Maine, USA, Sand Beach, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine, USA, Corea, Maine, USA, Dummerston, Vermont, USA - (Orchard), Great Barrington, Massachusetts, USA, Lenox, Massachusetts, USA, Massachusetts, USA, Northampton State Hospital - 1 Prince Street, Northampton, Massachusetts, USA, Northampton, Massachusetts, USA - (State Hospital/Orphanage), Northfield, Massachusetts, USA - (Drive-in movie)
Production Co: FilmColony, Miramax Films, Nina Saxon Film Design
Runtime: 126 min
Sound Mix: Dolby Digital - SDDS
I saw this film shortly after it came out in 2000 but I could not remember anything about it except a flash of someone reading rules on a wall.
Needless to say, it is one of the finest films made in the late 20th century.
There is a general theme running through the film with several sub stories.
The major theme of the story concerns the journey, geographical and psychological, of a young man who was raised in an orphanage in St. Cloud, Maine. Homer becomes the apprentice of the orphanage director Dr. Larch, who teaches Homer all he knows of medical knowledge. At maturity in his 20s, Homer has become a skilled, but unlicensed, physician.
Although he loves and is greatful to Dr Larch, Homer wants to experience life outside of the orphanage and to make his own way in the world.
Dr Larch provides abortions to women who find themselves in pregnancies which they don't wish or cannot afford. The abortions, of course, are illegal in this pre-Roe vs. Wade America, and although Homer has assisted him in these procedures, he is not comfortable with doing so.
Enter a couple, Wally and Candy. Candy is pregnant and has come to the orphanage yo receive Dr. Larch's procedure. Homer sees this as an opportunity to befriend the couple and leave with them to work on Wally's family apple farm.
Another theme concerns the apple cider house's boss, Arthur Rose, and his incestuous relations with his daughter Rose.
Arthur is angry with the rules posted on the wall of the cider house, restricting the movements of the workers residing there, complaining that the ones who wrote the rules don't have to live in the house with them. Ina moment of frustration he persuades Homer to agree to burn them.
As the film moves on, Homer feels he must confront the situation of Rose's unfortunate pregnancy and the situation of Wally's return from the war as a parapalegic.
He must also respond in some way Dr. Larch's plan to have him return to the orphanage as the doctor before Larch die's from a terminal illness.
As I watched the movie and afterwoards, I could not help but feel that the story is a metaphor for something beyond the plot. And I was right.
The anonymous author at http://www.novelguide.com/cider-house-rules/metaphor-analysis writes:
We also see the following at http://www.novelguide.com/cider-house-rules/essay-questions
Author John Irving describes The Cider House Rules as a didactic novel—that is, a novel with a message. The central message of the novel is that anti-abortion laws are unjust and unreasonable, as they lead to the death of women who, regardless of the law, will seek to end their pregnancies by any possible means.
The novel The Cider House Rules presents various examples of violence toward women, creating a picture of a sexist society in which women are often victimized. Grace Lynch suffers regular beatings at the hands of her brutish husband, Vernon. Although the abuse is known to all, nobody steps in to help Grace. Rose Rose is physically and sexually abused by her father, Arthur Rose. The other pickers stand outside and do nothing as Mr. Rose rapes his daughter. They know it is wrong, but again, fail to intervene.
Did You Know?
The scenes featuring the orphanage were filmed at the Northampton State Hospital, an abandoned mental asylum in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Ethan Hawke, Edward Norton, Ryan Phillippe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Franco, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Walker, Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck were considered for the role of Homer Wells until Tobey Maguire got the part.
Liv Tyler and Tori Spelling were considered for the role of Candy Kendall.
One of the attractions of adapting the film for author John Irving was that he wanted his son, Colin Irving, to play Wally Worthington. However, as the development process took over a decade, eventually his son was too old for the part and was not known enough to be considered for it in any event. However, the role of Major Winslow did ultimately provide Colin Irving a part in the film.
The orphan that gets into the pie dough and eats all of it and is shown throwing up all over the orphanage is named 'Steerforth'. Steerforth is the name of one of the main character's friends in the Charles Dickens book "David Copperfield" which Homer reads to the children in their bedroom.
John Irving makes a brief cameo as the St. Cloud stationmaster.
Michael Winterbottom was once set to direct but pulled out due to his impatience with the lengthy development process.
Discuss The Cider House Rules (1999) on the IMDb message boards.
Cast overview, first billed only:|
Tobey Maguire ... Homer Wells
Charlize Theron ... Candy Kendall
Delroy Lindo ... Arthur Rose
Paul Rudd ... Lt. Wally Worthington
Michael Caine ... Dr. Wilbur Larch
Jane Alexander ... Nurse Edna
Kathy Baker ... Nurse Angela
Erykah Badu ... Rose Rose
Kieran Culkin ... Buster
Kate Nelligan ... Olive Worthington
Heavy D ... Peaches
K. Todd Freeman ... Muddy
Paz de la Huerta ... Mary Agnes
J.K. Simmons ... Ray Kendall
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