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Movie Review: The Cider House Rules

Story: The Cider House Rules refers to a posting of some inane rules of conduct on a migrant workers' bunkhouse. But rules of conduct are at the heart of this charming, sentimental film. I know that sometimes sentimental is another word for sappy, but this time it works for me. John Irving adapted this screenplay from his own 1985 book and even put himself in a cameo role at the beginning and the end of the film. The film is very pared down from the book but the messages remain the same and Lasse Hallestrom (My Life as a Dog and What's Eating Gilbert Grape) is an expert on how to direct and work with kids and this film has plenty of them. Clearly a pro-choice message (my credo is ALL things) with the consistent and affirming theme of break some rules (another of my beliefs). I was hooked despite all of the angelic children, the idea of an orphanage and the oh so sweet soundtrack.

It is 1945 Maine, orphans, self-esteem, family, and life lessons. A fine holiday movie.

Acting: Everyone is terrific. Michael Caine doing a fine New England accent is low key and lovable. Toby McGuire is all grown up and is going to play likable for a long time. Charlize Theron (Ashley Judd's twin), Paul Rudd, Delroy Lindo, Jane Alexander (I am sure she is glad to be out of Washington DC) and all of the little kids are great.

Sappy Factor: 6

Tissue Usage: 2

Length: 5 minutes over the rule (close enough).