‘A Door in the Floor’ fails to make you care about amoral fools

Kim Basinger stars in 'Door in the Floor'
Kim Basinger stars in 'Door in the Floor'
Kim Basinger stars in ‘Door in the Floor’

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Kim Basinger, Jon Foster, Mimi Rogers, Elle Fanning, Bijou Phillips
Director(s): Tod Williams
Writer(s): Screenplay by Tod Williams, based upon the novel, “A Widow for One Year” by John Irving

I don’t like writing bad reviews. I really don’t. For the most part, if there’s a film that I’ve seen that I really don’t like I prefer not to write about it at all. But in some cases, I feel that I put myself in a position to offer an opinion on a film, and it wouldn’t be right of me to withhold that opinion, even if it means I have to give a bad review.

That’s the dilemma I found myself in with A Door in the Floor.

I like Jeff Bridges. Although it’s been quite some time since he’s been in a really good movie, I still like him. I think he’s an interesting actor, and always delivers strong performances. But why in the world did he agree to be in this movie?

A Door in the Floor is about a children’s book author and his wife, who tragically lose their two oldest sons. The death has shattered their marriage, and traumatized their young daughter. When Bridges’ character hires a young college student to come live with him for the summer as his assistant, their lives soon become exposed and turn upside down.

Jeff Bridges in 'The Door in the Floor'
Jeff Bridges in ‘The Door in the Floor’

The film starts off simple enough, but soon degrades into a series of events that make all the characters within it unlikable. Bridges’ character is a jerk who takes joy in humiliating people. Kim Basinger, as his wife, is sympathetic for a time as the distraught mother. But that gets tiring after a while, and ultimately any feeling of sadness you may feel for her are completely shattered.

Even the college student, portrayed by Jon Foster, has very little redeeming qualities. He’s not bad, exactly, just an idiot. He moves into Bridges’ home to work for him, and within a few days is masturbating to a picture of Basinger. And when Basinger finds out that he has developed feelings for her, she repeatedly sleeps with him.

There’s a brief laugh or two, like when Foster gets caught playing with himself, but that’s about it. By the time it’s revealed exactly what happened to the older boys and why the mother is so distraught, it’s really hard to care. None of these people have any redeeming qualities, and as a result their plight isn’t interesting. Plus, every indication seems to point to the idea that they are just as corrupted as they were before the death of their children, so they don’t even have that to blame for their lack of character.

The only person who claims to have any real morals in the story is the babysitter, who is only in the film briefly, and even she isn’t all that likable.

The story is far from original, and the characters here surprisingly amoral. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the film. What about it was I supposed to be affected by? These people do nothing but terrible things to one another, so who am I supposed to feel for? Why should I root for any of them?

There are some pretty simple features included on the DVD, including a commentary by the director and others, as well as a few documentaries. The “Anatomy of a Scene” is interesting to watch, and the commentary offers a few good tidbits, but they were all a little tainted for me as I just didn’t enjoy the film.

Rated: R
Run Time: 1 hr., 51 mins.

Michael Sheridan

Michael Sheridan has written, directed and produced more than a dozen short films under the banner of Maynard Films, and has worked as a writer for more than a decade for websites, magazines and newspapers.

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