Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: David Kehr
    Impeccably crafted and utterly impersonal, Lasse Hallstrom's adaptation of John Irving's novel has many of the qualities Oscar is known to appreciate.
  2. To adapt it for a 130-minute movie, Irving ruthlessly cut away subplots, eliminated supporting characters and pared down the traits of the ones that remain.
  3. Leaves out portions of John Irving's novel that would have given it more balance and perspective, but the acting by Maguire and Caine is first-rate by any standard.
  4. Reviewed by: Lewis Beale
    "I write 19th-century stories; they're supposed to affect you emotionally," says Irving, explaining why Tinseltown keeps knocking at his door.
  5. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    It's filled with vivid characters and action. Beneath its modesty of gesture, it's one of the year's richest, most humane films.
  6. A deliberately old-fashioned picture that succeeds in nearly everything it tries to do.
  7. 88
    The Cider House Rules is about many things -- chance, passivity, free will and self-invention -- but ultimately it comes back to Larch, who emerges as a toweringly noble figure even in his weakest moments.
  8. Lasse Hallström calms Irving's typically busy 1985 best-seller with a balm of the Swedish director's typically soothing lyricism.
  9. Many will find the subject matter disturbing, but it's clearly one of the holiday season's richest and most daring movie entries.
  10. Rich in story, character, and design, The Cider House Rules is obviously a collaborative effort, but above all it is a triumph for director Hallström.
  11. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    A small epic with subtle strengths.
  12. 80
    Always consistently watchable, but you get the feeling that in the novel --- the treacle is cut with the nasty edge that Irving's writing is capable of.
  13. More honest than any conventional morality tale. Here there are no heroes and no real villains; the good guys are all flawed and even bad guys are sometimes capable of the noblest of acts.
  14. Reviewed by: Robert Horton
    Part of the appeal of John Irving's writing is its sense of bounty, the way the world is offered up as a horn of plenty. The Cider House Rules movie, by contrast, feels narrowed down to small slices of experience.
  15. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    A touching, old-fashioned charmer that ultimately satisfies.
  16. The author's fantastical world of wonders and the director's tender-hearted compassion mesh into what is easily the finest film realization of an Irving novel.
  17. Reviewed by: Richard T. Jameson
    Hallström, a past master at cockeyed coming-of-age chronicles ("My Life as a Dog," "What's Eating Gilbert Grape"), has a near-genius for unpatronizing tolerance, and for seeing beauty in the world and nature and seasons without turning them into postcards.
  18. That Irving adapted his novel to the screen himself and, even more, that Hallström directed it, makes Cider House a far better film than other film adaptations of Irving's work.
  19. This is a warm, accessible story with delightful characters and a nice metaphor about following your own rules.
  20. What remains of the book's psychological underpinnings -- there are enough here to leave a permanent dent in the couch of any Freud-loving shrink
  21. Has that Dickensian spirit wherein simple acts of kindness can bring an audience close to tears.
  22. He (Irving) has been able to capture the quirky tone of the popular novel.
  23. 70
    This adaptation of John Irving's novel--- is as paternalistic, puffed-up, and dull as a congressional debate about abortion rights.
  24. The movie is pure pro-choice agitprop, as it tracks Homer's conversion to the cause of choice and posits the heroism of the abortionist. Pro-lifers will hate it on that point alone.
  25. 70
    It's Tobey Maguire, doing fine, subtle work, who holds it all together -- he puts a human touch to what is otherwise expertly wrought hokum.
  26. Oddly, most of the elements needed for a good movie are present here, but when added together they equal less than the sum of the parts.
  27. Has many affecting moments, but you may tire of the tugging on your heart strings.
  28. 63
    A major disappointment, The Cider House Rules pales by comparison with the gutsier, more full-bodied adaptation of Irving's "The World According to Garp."
  29. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    This being Irving, the story straddles the sweet and the creepy.
  30. 50
    The story touches many themes, lingers with some of them, moves on and arrives at nowhere in particular. It's not a story so much as a reverie about possible stories.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 60 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 1 out of 9
  1. Nov 28, 2012
    Hallstrom has succeeded in adapting John Irving's novel into an incredibly refreshing period piece. With very touching performances fromHallstrom has succeeded in adapting John Irving's novel into an incredibly refreshing period piece. With very touching performances from Maguire, Caine, and Theron, "The Cider House Rules" effectively portrays Irving's delightful coming-of-age tale. Full Review »
  2. Dec 6, 2011
    I think that is was a great film, and the lighting helped in setting the mood in the film. The soft lighting showed a calm and relaxedI think that is was a great film, and the lighting helped in setting the mood in the film. The soft lighting showed a calm and relaxed environment at the orphanage. The costumes of the characters helped to set the time frame that the film had taken place. I defiantly recommend it for viewing. Full Review »
  3. Mar 21, 2011
    The Cider House Rules the film is a story of Homer Wells (Tobey Maguire), a permanent orphan of St. Cloudâ