• James Rutherford

'Adaptation': A Stunningly Inventive, One-of-a-Kind Treatise on Creativity and Self-Fulfillment


Movie poster for Spike Jonze's film Adaptation starring Nicholas Cage and Meryl Streep

"Adaptation" (2002) is a superb and wildly innovative comedy-drama starring Nicholas Cage as Charlie Kaufman, a struggling screenwriter tasked with adapting the non-fiction book "The Orchid Thief" by Susan Orlean (Meryl Streep) into a functional screenplay.


Forlorn and brimming with self-loathing, the despondent Kaufman despises contrivance and strains to bring Orlean's tale of real-life orchid enthusiasts to life without relying on formulaic plot gimmicks. Ultimately saddled with severe writer's block, Kaufman recruits his twin-brother Donald (also Cage) to assist him in confronting Orlean directly, leading them on a sordid path of discovery that culminates in a wildly unpredictable confrontation with the book's chief protagonist, orchid hunter John Laroche (Chris Cooper).


Written by real-life screenwriter Charlie Kaufman ("Being John Malkovich") and directed by Spike Jonze ("Her"), "Adaptation" is a stunningly dynamic tale of discovery and self-fulfillment. Kaufman has crafted a uniquely abstract narrative around his own creative process, and delivers a wholly original and undeniably invigorating masterpiece in the process. Equal parts amusing, intriguing and downright bewildering, it's grade-A cinematic escapism that absolutely must be experienced first-hand.