Some stories have a cosmic weight too great to neatly label 'drama' or 'tragedy'. The Door in the Floor is one of those stories, a film adaptation of just one part of John Irving's 1998 novel, A Widow for One Year. The film is an unsettling portrait of a long-married couple reeling from the freak accident that took the lives of their two teen aged sons. The story begins years after the event, the couple, Marion and Ted Cole(played by Kim Basinger and Jeff Bridges) are raising their young daughter, Ruth, in a grand house, somehow avoiding ever being in the same room at the same time.
Throughout the home, the walls are adorned with black and white photos of their sons, and Ruth obsesses over each image and the story that it holds. It's clear that four-year-old Ruth was conceived to fill the void in their lives, as Marion and Ted bravely attempted to move forward. Ruth is lovely, sweet, clever and playful but she can't fill the hollow that consumes both her parents.
The loss of their children was overwhelmingly cruel, and for Ted and Marion, insurmountable. What remains between them is a deliberate cruelty (through words and actions) that can only happen between people
who have shared so much, perhaps too much.
An overlooked, underrated film from 2004, The Door in the Floor features characters and conversations that stayed with me long afterwards.