The Cider House Rules is the 1999 adaptation of John Irving’s best-selling novel, about a young man named Homer Wells (Tobey Maguire) who is raised in an orphanage in Maine during WWII. Trained from an early age in obstetrics (and abortions) by the kindly Dr. WIlbur Larch (Michael Caine), Wilbur yearns to explore the world and eventually embarks on a spirit quest that finds him working as a day laborer on an apple farm in rural Maine. The cast of characters that Wilbur encounters (utterly superb across the board) and the unexpected challenges that he faces throughout the film really imbue this tale of self-discovery with warmth and heart. It’s incredibly touching and borderline heartbreaking at times, yet never loses its air of utter compassion and humanity. A true must-see.
The Cider House Rules streaming online: