The Cider House Rules by John IrvingRaised from birth in the orphanage at St. Clouds, Maine, Homer Wells has become the protege of Dr. Wilbur Larch, its physician and director. There Dr. Larch cares for the troubled mothers who seek his help, either by delivering and taking in their unwanted babies or by performing illegal abortions. Meticulously trained by Dr. Larch, Homer assists in the former, but draws the line at the latter. Then a young man brings his beautiful fiancee to Dr. Larch for an abortion, and everything about the couple beckons Homer to the wide world outside the orphanage ...
Cider House Rules
Wilbur Larch, an obstetrician and abortionist. The story relates his early life at Larch's orphanage in Maine and follows Homer as he eventually leaves the nest and comes of age in the world. The story about Wally being shot down over Burma was based in part on that of Irving's biological father whom he never met , who had been shot down over Burma and survived. Homer Wells grows up in an orphanage where he spends his childhood trying to be "of use" as a medical assistant to the director, Dr. Wilbur Larch, whose history is told in flashbacks : After a traumatic misadventure with a prostitute as a young man, Wilbur turns his back on sex and love, choosing instead to help women with unwanted pregnancies give birth and then keeping the babies in an orphanage. He makes a point of maintaining an emotional distance from the orphans, so that they can more easily make the transition into an adoptive family, but when it becomes clear that Homer is going to spend his entire childhood at the orphanage, Wilbur trains the orphan as an obstetrician and then comes to love him like a son.
At one point he runs away to pick apples and fall in love, but his fate awaits him and has been sealed at his birth. At least, I think that's what the story is about. Other critics have zeroed in on the movie's treatment of abortion. Larch Michael Caine , in charge of the orphanage, will provide abortions without question because, in the s and s, he wants to save young women from the coat-hook artists of the back alleys. He has taught Homer Tobey Maguire , his protege, everything he knows about medicine, but Homer is opposed to abortion. This results in a "controversial pro-choice stance on abortion" David Rooney, Variety , or "it makes men the arbiters of what happens to a woman's body" Amy Taubin, Village Voice.
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The Cider House Rules is a very odd, glutinous sentimental drama, like an episode of The Waltons about incest, race and abortion. But, revisiting it now, five months after its UK premiere at the London Film Festival, it just seems odder than ever, jam-packed with incoherent moral positions, bulging with pseudo-issues, and all rendered entirely inarticulate by its own choked-up tearfulness. A good two hours consisting, almost literally, of nonsense - gurning, emoting, self-regarding gibberish. Set during the second world war, the film tells of boyish Homer Wells Tobey Maguire , who has been brought up in a Maine orphanage by kindly but stern Dr Larch Michael Caine , who presides over a set-up which is also a lying-in hospital and abortion venue. Yearning to get out into the wide world, Homer gets a job on a farm picking apples and pressing them for cider. Maguire is cute, as is Ms Theron, who, at one stage, is shown reclining languorously unclothed so as to make clear that, to paraphrase Julia Roberts in Notting Hill, she does her own ass-work. Michael Caine has presence and style, but his American accent sounds like he's doing an impression of Loyd Grossman's Canadian mother-in-law.
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