I’ve always loved movies that deal with the movie industry (SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS, THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL), films about films that blur the line between reality and fiction (THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO, THE STUNT MAN) and especially movies that are about the screenwriter himself (BARTON FINK, SUNSET BOULEVARD). ADAPTATION is a great achievement of all three examples mentioned above as well as being a tremendously original (even more so than Kaufman’s BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, if you can believe it) comedy/drama that is satisfying on any level you want to watch it on. It always amazes me when a screenwriter can blend incredibly funny moments and dialogue (I wept from laughter during Brian Cox’s screenplay seminar scene) with moments of drama so full of poignancy and truth (the Kaufman brothers “log” scene). I would describe this as a perfect movie for anyone who not only wants to see a film so damn beautiful and different from the rest, but who also anticipates to laugh and to be touched and inspired by a picture.
How Nic Cage managed to leave the Oscar ceremony without the statue this year is beyond me. That doesn’t really matter anyhow because with his unbelievably funny and sweet performance as both Charlie and Donald Kaufman, Nic proves how compelling and great an actor he really is and always has been. Meryl Streep pulls off another flawless performance as well, in a role that I wouldn’t have normally pictured her in. And last but definitely not least, Chris Cooper is the most impressive in ADAPTATION and after years of solid work in tons of movies, I’m glad to see that he’s finally getting the recognition that he deserves (he won the Oscar for this part at this year’s awards). Brian Cox and Ron Livingston (from the great SWINGERS and OFFICE SPACE) are also priceless in two small but hilarious roles. This is a movie that is as much about screenwriting and everything it entails as it is about love. It’s really quite beautiful and touching and not to be missed.