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Adaptation | 2002 | R | - 6.6.8

Peculiar film about screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's troubles in adapting Susan Orlean's novel "The Orchid Thief" for the screen. As played by Nicolas Cage, Kaufman is neurotic and paranoid and becomes particularly disturbed when his twin brother (also Cage) decides to become a screenwriter too, attends a screenwriting seminar, develops a story, pitches it and sells it without much exertion or effort. Meryl Streep costars as Orlean and Spike Jonze directs. Also with Chris Cooper, Tilda Swinton and Cara Seymour. [1:50]

SEX/NUDITY 6 - A man lies nude on a sofa (a woman blocks his private parts), a woman kisses him, then climbs on top of him, and thrusts and moans briefly; when the man spots another man watching them through a window, he jumps off the sofa and chases him (we see him fully nude from the front and the back). A man imagines having sex with a woman while he masturbates; we see her thrusting briefly, then we hear the man moaning, see his toes curling up and he then gets out of bed and sits nude in a chair (we see him from the side with no private parts exposed). A man imagines a woman kissing him and removing her top (we see her bare breasts); the man's dream is interrupted and although not clear he could have been masturbating (we see him bare-chested). A man imagines having sex with a woman while he masturbates: the woman is on top, they kiss, she leans back and he moans. A man and a woman snuggle and kiss in bed (we see her bare shoulders and his bare back) and it is not clear whether sex is taking place or may have just ended. We see photos and computer images of nude women (bare breasts, thongs, bare buttocks) and a man talks about pornographic websites in a few scenes. A man and a woman kiss a few times. A man makes crude sexual remarks about two women, and a man remarks about a woman's appearance several times (e.g. "she's hot"), and makes a sexual remark and gesture. A man insinuates that a woman was intimate with a man. A man gets out of bed and we see him in his boxer shorts, and a man's shirt hangs open and we see his bare chest. A man touches and remarks about her hair, and a man touches a woman's shoulder. A man talks to himself about kissing a woman, and a man admires many women and compares them to flowers. A man and a woman are shown in bed together a few times (the man is asleep and they are both clothed). Women wear low-cut dresses in several scenes, exposing cleavage and the side of their breasts, and a woman wears only a T-shirt exposing her bare thighs. People mention asexual reproduction, and a man talks about insects making love to their flower while pollinating.

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VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - A car slams into another car and one man is thrown through the windshield of his car and we see him bloody and lying on the ground and the driver of the other car lies motionless on the ground. A car is slammed into by another car: we witness the scene from inside the car, we see the people inside being thrown around, one man has a very bloody face and missing teeth, and we see other bodies taken away on stretchers (we hear that other people have died) and see a woman in a hospital bed in a coma. A man is attacked and killed by an alligator: he thrashes around under the water, the water fills with blood and we see a large bloody gash on his side. A man is shot in the arm (we see blood on his sleeve). We watch people dying and hear that orchid hunting is a dangerous undertaking: one man slips and falls into water (he drowns), another man we are told disappears, and we see another who we hear is very ill and watch him being beaten to death by other men. A man chases and grabs a man, pulls him into a house and slams him into a chair where he is threatened, held at gunpoint and then driven to a swamp. A man talks about a child watching while her mother is beaten to death. A woman is knocked down by a car door opening. We watch a clip in high speed of a fox dying and decomposing (we see his body begin to break down and maggots squirm about). A man is held at gunpoint by two people. We watch a baby being born, see the head emerge from the vagina and the bloody umbilical cord. People walk into a swamp and we hear rustling suggesting alligators, and men walk through a swamp and we see alligators in the distance. Two men talk about serial killers, including brutal methods of killing. Two men hide from two other people who are looking for them and a snake slithers by on the fallen tree they're lean against. We see the aftermath of a hurricane and hear about the destruction. A man and a woman get lost in a swamp. Two men watch and follow a woman: they peer through binoculars and follow her to a house and they then peek through the windows. One character is in a constant state of stress and anxiety, making overall for a very tense atmosphere.

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LANGUAGE 8 - 35 F-words, 8 sexual references, 18 scatological terms, 8 anatomical terms, 8 mild obscenities, 5 religious profanities, 9 religious exclamations.

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SUBSTANCE USE - We see people drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Several characters snort a drug and smoke a drug in a few scenes. There are discussions of drugs, drug running, drug production and dealing.)

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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Happiness, cliches, originality, Hollywood, self-improvement, self-loathing, masturbation, horticulture, orchid collecting, chemical imbalances, The Big Bang theory, Charles Darwin, obsessive behavior, conservation, pornography, homosexuality, cults, asexual reproduction, DNA, narcissism, cannibalism.
MESSAGE - We must always strive to do something novel and new. When you find true love, you should stop at nothing to get it.
CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.



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