Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 40 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 171 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The lives of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Cage), author Susan Orlean (Streep) and orchid poacher John Laroche (Cooper) become strangely intertwined as each one's search for passion collides with the others' in this adaptation of the best-selling "The Orchid Thief." [Columbia Pictures]
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 40
  2. Negative: 2 out of 40
  1. 100
    Screenwriting this smart, inventive, passionate and rip-roaringly funny is a rare species. It's magic.
  2. 100
    It's typical of the nerve, the bravado, the sheer giddy playfulness and sense of fun that characterize what has to be the boldest and most imaginative studio film of the year.
  3. The notion of meta has never been diddled more mega than in this giddy Möbius strip of a movie, a contrivance so whizzy and clever that even when it tangles at the end, murked like swampy southwestern Florida itself, the stumble has quotation marks around it.
  4. It's a testament to Cage's canny performance and Jonze's seamless use of special effects that you believe Charlie and Donald are two entirely different people.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    80
    The movie ends in a burst of violence that we are unprepared for and don't believe. Maybe it's the film's final joke. It's a miscalculation -- though a calculated one -- but it does not erase one's fond memories of all the odd, deeply humorous behavior that preceded it.
  6. Snags on the fact that neither story depicted -- not Kaufman's and especially not Orlean's -- is enough to sustain more than an incidental interest.
  7. Virtually everything that happens in Adaptation is almost juvenile showing off - daring to make a film that is in search of a script.

See all 40 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 62 out of 77
  2. Negative: 12 out of 77
  1. Nov 12, 2013
    10
    Very witty and self referential. Entertaining in a highly ironic way. All of the cliches that the protagonist is supposed to avoid come into play, down to the "act of god" in the end, and the strange drama that comes out of left field. It was ironically bad, which made it ironically good, if that makes any sense. Expand
  2. NK
    Oct 18, 2009
    10
    People who think this was poorly written are not paying attention! Kaufman gets as close as any masterpiece I've known to expressing something true and simple and universal. The humor and wit are clever (I get the "winking at the audience" part), but beyond being playful, they are executed with such a steady and deliberate hand to lend to a greater, troubling problem of how to survive -- to preserve our uniquely human consciousness -- in an era of mass-production. Fantastic, reflexive and self-indulgent? Yes. And yet! It still issues a "message" (for unfortunate lack of better word) relevant to the world we live in. This is a film you can watch repeatedly and find something new every time. Expand
  3. Jan 1, 2013
    10
    A film about the screenplay which is currently being written within the film and how it ends. Phenomenal and extraordinary. The lives of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Cage), author Susan Orlean (Streep) and orchid poacher John Laroche (Cooper) become strangely intertwined as each one's search for passion collides with the others' in this adaptation of the best-selling "The Orchid Thief." This brilliant meta-narrative and hilarious spoof of Hollywood's formulaic approach to telling stories. "Adaptation" came about because of Jonze and real-life writer Kaufman, who had worked previously on "Being John Malkovich." Cage's sweaty, uncomfortable turn in both roles is marvelous. I miss the vintage Nicolas Cage in well made films, and his performance here still amazes me every time. Enough can't be said about the performances of a stellar cast, Strep and Cooper (won Oscar), that exceed lofty expectations. Original, clever, beautiful, tragic, and I could go on. Expand
  4. BrianM
    Sep 17, 2009
    9
    Great Movie...Chris Cooper is Great!!
  5. Jan 6, 2013
    9
    Nic Cages best movie that Charlie Kaufman comes up with on the spot. The ultimate meta-movei with the best screenplay ever written or one of the top ones. Expand
  6. Oct 24, 2013
    8
    Charlie Kaufman writes a screenwriting master class with in the movie. Many rules are broken, the third wall seems to disappeared in a unexplainable way, yet you always remain in the universe of the story. Directing is fine, no risks where taken, acting is good. Expand
  7. SusieK.
    Jan 24, 2007
    0
    I tried to like this film, but I couldn't even finish it. My best friend loved it. I reckon it depends upon your taste. I found it very boring, I couldn't sympathize or care about any of the characters, and, in trying too hard to be artsy, it ends up being irritating and too dang long (I am not sure how much of it I saw, but my guess is about 2/3 to 3/4 before I got really fed up and quit watching). Expand

See all 77 User Reviews

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