March 26, 2010

Film Friday: The Door in The Floor

It was the sound, of someone trying not to make a sound.

The Door in the Floor is a film I always go to when I'm feeling ill, or a little bit down. It's a story about people dealing with a tragedy, and definitely couldn't be described as cheerful, so I'm not entirely sure why it always manages to cheer me up. Perhaps it's the fact that it feels very much based in reality – the characters are complex, layered and very believable – but it is pretty enough to feel like escapism.

Someone (I have forgotten who) described it as an anti-melodrama melodrama, which seems entirely accurate. The whole film is based around the premise of things going unsaid, and characters relating to each other without really seeing each other. Everything is kept hidden under the surface. Marion Cole is vulnerable and emotionally shut off from her surroundings, Ted Cole deals with his grief through manipulation and control - and both characters are experienced through the eyes of Eddie, a young and (almost) naive college student who has arrived during the breaking point of the couples relationship.

I think one of my favourite things about this movie is how calming it is. The dialogue and the plot is lonely and tragic, and yet...despite the drama, everything that happens is almost portrayed as being nothing. It's somber, but almost optimistic in a way. This optimism seems less a result of the story, which is dark, and more about the visual aspect. There is a scene where Ted Cole (Jeff Bridges, who embraces the role of womaniser and writer in a way which is both charming and a little uncomfortable.) is shown dressed in pink slacks and a pink polo shirt. He resembles a marshmallow, and this strange choice of outfit isn't an isolated incident; much of the time Cole wears a pale, muted blue kaftan. I can't help but notice the subdued, natural light and the sugary, muted colours throughout the entire length of the film. Soft lavenders, cornflower blues, buttermilk creams are not only present in the wardrobe of the cast but also the set, the landscape, and the objects which the characters interact with.

It's like watching a drama set within a Ladurée cake shop, or based around a large glass jar of sugared almonds; strangely without appearing at all stylised. Subtle, quiet and completely unrushed, it's just a really lovely experience to watch each character develop and interact with each other at their own pace.

This is probably more of a love letter to a film than a considered review, and I'm not entirely sure how to sum it's comforting. Let's just call it comforting, and leave it at that.


  1. I could go on and on about this film, but I'll just say that - I love it so much! I also adore the book it's based on.

  2. Mallory - Me too! I could go on and on more than I have, but I'll try not to, hehe. It's lovely, and it's so nice to hear someone else who has seen and loved it, it seems quite unappreciated for some reason. I love the book too. x