“Adaptation,” the first feature from the team of director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman since their major popular success “Being John Malkovich” premieres at the Smith Opera House this weekend. “Adaptation” fulfills all the promise of its predecessor and more–it's funnier, more complex, and equally original and fresh.
The central character of the film is Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage). He's a screenwriter blocked on a film adaptation of real life author Susan Orleans’ (Meryl Streep) book “The Orchid Thief.” The film is a fictionalized take on the difficulty of adapting the book and it also contains scenes from the adaptation itself–there's a movie within the movie. The verbal description sounds more complicated than it seems on screen, where the skill of the writing and direction knit the fashionably self-reflexive “making of” story with the substance of Orleans’ themes in “The Orchid Thief.”
“The Orchid Thief,” an expansion of a New Yorker magazine article, investigated the case of an orchid poacher, John Laroche (Chris Cooper), who eluded the law by working with Seminole Indians who have a legal right to harvest the flowers from the Florida swamps. Orleans is intrigued with Laroche's passion for orchids. There's interesting play on the sexual aspects of orchids, too, but Orleans is more interested in the ability to care about something passionately: “I want to want something as much as people want these plants.” Orleans cultivates Laroche's confidence and learns his personal history.
“Adaptation” was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Actor (Cage), Best Supporting Actress (Streep) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Kaufman).
“Adaptation” will be screened at 7 p.m. March 27, 28 and 29, and at 2 p.m. March 30. This film is rated R for language, sexuality, some drug use and violent images. Its running time is 1 hour, 54 minutes. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. All seats on Thursday are $3. The Smith Opera House is located at 82 Seneca Street in Geneva. Call 315-781-LIVE or toll-free 1-866-355 LIVE for additional information. The Smith is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the City of Geneva, the Town of Geneva and by contributions from individual supporters.