Picks and Pans Review: The Door in the Floor

UPDATED 07/26/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/26/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

Jeff Bridges, Kim Basinger, Jon Foster, Mimi Rogers, Elle Fanning

CRITIC'S CHOICE

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Jeff Bridges just keeps getting better. Taking on the knotty role of a bestselling children's author who drinks too much and chases after women partially to keep from facing an unendurable pain, Bridges practically prances with delight. It's a big performance, but one filled with delicate touches and, in the end of this funny-sad story, he grabs at the heart.

The Door in the Floor is a flawed film, but one made with obvious intelligence and care by writer-director Tod Williams (The Adventures of Sebastian Cole). It aims to show how grief and regret—over the death of two adolescent sons—can so gnaw away at a couple that eventually nothing is left of a marriage. Based on John Irving's novel A Widow for One Year, the film centers on Ted Cole (Bridges) and his wife, Marion (Basinger, in a delicate performance), who live in a rambling house in the fashionable Hamptons. The couple are seen largely through the eyes of teenager Eddie O'Hare (Foster), a would-be writer who is spending the summer as Ted's assistant. The youth soon develops the hots for Marion. Eddie, an unformed lump of yearning, is bland as biscuit dough alongside the adult characters. Every time the movie focuses on him, you want to yell, "Get back to the grown-ups." Fortunately, Floor always does. (R)

DRAMA

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