The Cider House Rules (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Cider House Rules1999

The Cider House Rules (1999)



Critic Consensus: The Cider House Rules derives affecting drama from wonderful performances, lovely visuals, and an old-fashioned feel.

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Movie Info

John Irving scripted this screen adaptation of his 1985 novel. Set during World War II, The Cider House Rules concerns Homer Wells (Tobey Maguire), an orphan who spent most of his childhood at the St. Cloud Orphanage in rural Maine, where he grew up under the strong but affectionate care of Dr. Wilbur Larch (Michael Caine). Larch has passed along his medical education to Homer, and the young man helps the doctor care for abandoned children and the newborn babies of unwed mothers; however, Homer refuses to assist Larch with the illegal abortions that he performs on the side; Homer has moral objections to abortion, while Larch believes in the rights of the individual and sees it as his duty to keep women in need away from dangerous incompetents. Wally Worthington (Paul Rudd), an air-force pilot, brings his girlfriend Candy (Charlize Theron) to St. Cloud for an abortion, and Homer decides to go with them when they leave, hoping to see the world; however, the three end up going no further than the state line, where Wally's mother (Kate Nelligan) runs an apple orchard and cider mill, and Candy's family traps lobsters. When Wally ships off to battle, Homer grows closer to Candy, and the two fall in love. But their idyllic life at the cider mill is interrupted when Rose Rose (Erykah Badu), a field worker at the orchard, becomes pregnant and her father, cider-house foreman Mr. Rose (Delroy Lindo), turns out to be the father of her unborn child. This news coupled with the death of Dr. Larch, forces Homer to take a long look at both his moral principles and his future. Rapper Heavy D appears in the supporting cast as Peaches. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Michael Caine
as Dr. Wilbur Larch
Paul Rudd
as Wally
Erykah Badu
as Rose Rose
Kathy Baker
as Nurse Angela
Jane Alexander
as Nurse Edna
Heavy D
as Peaches
Paz de la Huerta
as Mary Agnes
J.K. Simmons
as Ray Kendall
Sean Andrew
as Copperfield
John Albano
as Steerforth
Colin Irving
as Major Winslow
Patrick J. Donnelly
as Adopting Father
Edie Schechter
as Adopting Mother
Kasey Berry
as 12-Year-Old Girl
Mary Bogue
as Big Dot
Norma Fine
as Mrs. Goodhall
Daniel Walsh
as Adopted Child
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Critic Reviews for The Cider House Rules

All Critics (112) | Top Critics (32)

Thought-provoking movie for teens and up.

December 28, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Hallstrom's film could have used more dramatic muscle but is nonetheless a touching, old-fashioned charmer that ultimately satisfies.

May 30, 2008
Top Critic

Mr. Irving remains a disturbingly facile spinner of yarns in which the most sordid facts of life are glossed over into comfortably didactic homilies about the innate goodness of people. Yet, I was somehow moved...

April 27, 2007 | Full Review…

Hallström's humanism is possibly a little low key and romantic given such tough themes as abortion and incest.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

What's bizarre about the movie is how it grafts greeting-card schmaltz on to a muckraking liberal agenda.

December 2, 2002 | Full Review…

[It] is a fable that turns into a 1940s New England variation on Charles Dickens. It is also one dickens of an American movie.

June 18, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Cider House Rules

Beautifully done movie...

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


Cider House is worth watching more than once. About orphans, ether overdoses, first love, abortions and duty.

Red Lats
Red Lats

Super Reviewer

Engaging story of the complicated relationshop between a father and a son and the orphanage they run. While the very word "orphanage" conjures visions of such mawkish emotionalism that one is prepared to ignor the film outright, the screenplay (an adaptation of his novel) by Irving and a sure hand by director (Hallestrom) make this visit to Maine a very worthy expedition.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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