1. Adaptation is another movie that presents itself as a film within a film, much like Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story does. These two movies also share similar themes, chief among them being the idea of attempting to film the “unfilmable.” As we see throughout the movie, Charlie Kaufman goes back and forth on how to best portray Susan Orlean’s novel, The Orchid Thief, onto the big screen without straying too far from the source text. It is an interesting theme to look at, especially in this day and age, because so many movie screenwriters/directors/producers wrestle with this problem all too frequently, and it was interesting to see this conflict acted out.

2. The Orchid Thief focuses on the story of John Laroche and how his burning passion for these orchids controls his life. As the movie portrayed, Laroche has an almost intoxicating personality that is fueled by his longing to possess the orchid flowers. Another theme in the novel is how Orlean does not follow the traditional “arc” of storytelling; that is to say that there is no definitive moment that the book is building up to. This makes it difficult to turn the book into a film because without having some sort of progression, the movie runs the risk of never climaxing and boring its audience to death.

3. http://interpretingtheorchidthief.blogspot.com/ –> Talks about the ideas of objects, and character’s reliance on these objects, in the film and the novel.

http://www.randomhouse.com/rhpg//rc/library/display.pperl?isbn=9780449003718&view=printrg → This source is a list of questions that one can browse over, either before watching the film or reading the novel, that will steer the reader towards the main themes and concepts.


I found this source to be particularly helpful for understanding both the novel and the film because the author of this blog does an excellent job of interweaving the ideas found in the book to ideas seen in the movie. This source is also especially helpful because not everything seen in the film comes from the novel, and the blog not only points out these inconsistencies but it also highlights overlapping themes. It also talks about the challenges the real Charles Kaufman faced, in terms of bringing this book to the big screen, and how he chose to overcome them.

4. How does the film reflect the perils and pleasures of writing? How does the writing process differ, for instance, between Susan and Charlie? How about between Donald and Charlie?

In Adaptation the perils and pleasures of professional writing are highlighted by the different experiences between Susan and Charlie, as well as between Donald and Charlie. For Susan Orlean, writing was something she had to experience. She spent countless hours with Laroche so she could get inside his head and his thoughts, so that she could better portray him in her novel. This method of writing was an enjoyable experience for Susan and she never seemed to stress or worry about her writing. Charlie on the other hand seemed to believe writing had to something that was created in solitary, which ended up making him miserable. While Charlie did bring in magazines about orchids and Florida, he was extremely hesitant to ask Susan Orlean questions or to attend McKee’s seminar. It appeared as if Charlie was too intimidated to ask anyone else for help out of fear that he would seem incapable of doing the job. He chose to drive himself crazy instead, worrying that his work would not be good enough. Donald on the other hand seemed eager to ask anyone and everyone for help. Not only does he ask Charlie for help, attend McKee’s seminar, and interview Orlean for Charlie, but he even runs ideas by his mother. Donald was never too ashamed or shy to ask someone else for help, and for him writing was a rather rewarding experience.