• 15
  • Spike Jonze (2002)
  • US
  • 110 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

Being John Malkovich director Spike Jonze again demonstrates his astonishing style and originality with this inventive comedy drama. Based on the Bafta-winning screenplay by previous collaborator Charlie Kaufman (who credits his fictitious twin brother Donald as co-writer, the first of many games Kaufman plays), the film takes the idea of life imitating art to new extremes. Instead of a straight adaptation of journalist Susan Orlean's non-fiction book The Orchid Thief, Jonze presents a surreal version of Kaufman turning the literary work into a screenplay. It's a dark, hilarious and visually intoxicating celluloid trip, made even more appealing by a riveting double turn from Nicolas Cage as both the creatively blocked Charlie and Donald, who's an aspiring screenwriter of action blockbusters. However, in a delicious tale crammed with such ingenuity, it's Meryl Streep who's the biggest revelation. She lets her hair down to incredible effect as the experience-hungry Susan Orlean, adding the final brilliant touch to a dazzling and emotionally vibrant movie.

Plot Summary

Satirical comedy drama starring Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep. As well as battling his own demons, paranoid scriptwriter Charlie Kaufman is trying to adapt the uninspiring book The Orchid Thief into a scintillating screenplay. Struck by a severe case of writer's block, he turns to his allegedly less talented twin brother Donald for assistance, with surprising - and tragic - results.

Cast and crew


Charlie Kaufman / Donald Kaufman
Nicolas Cage
Susan Orlean
Meryl Streep
John Laroche
Chris Cooper
Tilda Swinton
Cara Seymour
Robert McKee
Brian Cox
Alice the waitress
Judy Greer
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Ron Livingston
Matthew Osceola
Jay Tavare
Ranger Steve Neely
Stephen Tobolowsky
Defense attorney
Peter Jason
Orlean's husband
Curtis Hanson
John Cusack
John Cusack
Catherine Keener
Catherine Keener
John Malkovich
John Malkovich


Spike Jonze

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Columbia TriStar
Contains violence, swearing, sex scenes, drug abuse and nudity.
Available on video and DVD
Released 28 Feb 2003
Certificate 15