Sunday, November 01, 2009

Rules OK

The Cider House Rules: The titular "rules" come in when the film's protagonist (Tobey McGuire) is working as an apple-picker; the establishment in question has a set of arbitrary rules of conduct for the apple-pickers, which the pickers reject, saying that they were made by people who aren't pickers and don't understand their situation, and that they will instead make their own rules and live by these. The entire film revolves around the damage done by arbitrary social rules made up by people who haven't experienced a particular situation and don't understand what it's like. The protagonist, a young man raised at an orphanage and trained in medicine by the institution's resident doctor-cum-abortionist, has strong anti-abortion feelings until confronted with a situation in which abortion is the only way of resolving it happily; the doctor who raised him (played by Michael Caine) is continually constrained in his running of a successful orphanage by the social-conservative moralising of its board of directors; his on-and-off girlfriend is faced with a terribly ironic situation at the end of the film which, not to spoiler it too much, is also caused by arbitrary social rules about sex, marriage and childbearing. There's lots of other aspects of it to talk about, of course-- it's a complex movie, and surprisingly pro-choice for a mainstream American film-- but it's worth seeing for the rules alone.

Movie count for 2009: 93