Skip to main content
Adaptation Movie Poster
Plot, Details & Awards

Adaptation

Rated R for language, sexuality, some drug use and violent images.

R In Theaters 12/6/2002 , 115min.
Share this movie on

Plot & Details

The creative team behind Being John Malkovich -- director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman -- return with this equally offbeat comedy, in which Kaufman himself becomes the leading character. Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage) is a gifted but profoundly neurotic screenwriter who, after the success of Being John Malkovich, has been hired to write a script adapted from the nonfiction book The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean. But while Charlie is obsessive about his work, he's also intensely paranoid, given to deep depression, socially inept, and terrified of talking to women, qualities which are making it difficult to get on with his work or hold on to his tenuous relationship with girlfriend Amelia (Cara Seymour). Meanwhile, Charlie's identical twin brother, Donald Kaufman (also played by Cage), has shown up to move in with his brother. Emotionally, Donald is Charlie's polar opposite -- a loudmouthed, over-confident, superficial party animal who has an easy way with the ladies. Donald has decided to follow his brother's footsteps and take up screenwriting as well, but embracing the dictates of screenwriting tutor Robert McKee (Brian Cox), he's cranking out a cliché-ridden serial-killer thriller when not busy making time with new girlfriend Caroline (Maggie Gyllenhaal). As Donald blazes through his screenplay, Charlie slowly picks away at his story, in which author Susan Orlean (Meryl Streep) chronicles John Laroche (Chris Cooper), a scruffy but devoted plant enthusiast who tries to save rare species of orchids by stealing them from their natural home in the swamps of Florida. As John and Susan become better acquainted, they find themselves attracted to one another; similarly, Charlie finds himself increasingly fascinated with Susan, and finds himself falling in love with her, even though he's only seen her photo on the dust jacket of her book. Charlie arranges to meet Susan, but is too nervous to confront her face to face, so he sends Donald (who has just scored a seven-figure deal for his script) in his place, while he attends a screenwriting seminar held by McKee. Adaptation also features Tilda Swinton, Judy Greer, and Stephen Tobolowsky.

Awards

Academy Awards

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
2002 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Supporting Actor Chris Cooper Won
2002 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Adapted Screenplay Charlie Kaufman Nominated
2002 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Supporting Actress Meryl Streep Nominated
2002 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
2002 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Actor Nicolas Cage Nominated

Golden Globes

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
2002 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Director Spike Jonze Nominated
2002 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Screenplay Nominated
2002 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Picture - Musical or Comedy Nominated
2002 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy Nicolas Cage Nominated
2002 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Screenplay Charlie Kaufman Nominated
2002 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Chris Cooper Won
2002 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Meryl Streep Won

American Film Institute

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
2002 American Film Institute Top Ten Movie of the Year Won

Berlin International Film Festival

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
2003 Berlin International Film Festival Silver Bear Won

Broadcast Film Critics Association

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
2002 Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Chris Cooper Nominated
2003 Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Screenplay Charlie Kaufman Won
2002 Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Writer Charlie Kaufman Nominated
2002 Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Picture Nominated
2003 Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Chris Cooper Won
2003 Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Picture Nominated
2003 Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Meryl Streep Nominated
2002 Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Meryl Streep Nominated

Chicago Film Critics Association

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
2002 Chicago Film Critics Association Best Screenplay Won
2002 Chicago Film Critics Association Best Screenplay Charlie Kaufman Won
2002 Chicago Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Meryl Streep Won
2002 Chicago Film Critics Association Most Promising Performer Maggie Gyllenhaal Won

Los Angeles Film Critics Association

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
2002 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Chris Cooper Won
2002 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Screenplay (Runner-up) Charlie Kaufman Won
2002 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Screenplay (Runner-up) Won

National Board of Review

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
2002 National Board of Review Best Picture Nominated
2002 National Board of Review Best Supporting Actor Chris Cooper Won
2002 National Board of Review Best Screenplay Charlie Kaufman Won

Stay Connected with Moviefone

My Settings

You are currently subscribed as: {email}


Subscriptions

Get the latest reviews, movie news, photos, and trailers sent straight to your inbox.

Weekly Newsletter

Daily alerts

Movies

You're not following any movies.

These are the movies you’re currently following.


    Update settings
    X