Reviewed by: Arthur Dutch
“The Cider House Rules” is the story of Homer, an orphan who grows up under the guidance of an altruistic gynecologist who directs an orphanage. His altruism extends towards pregnant young women (usually out of wedlock) who seek him out to either help in the birthing process or to receive an abortion at the orphanage. While the acting is excellent and the scenery beautiful, verity is missing.
So what are the cider house rules? Homer eventually leaves the orphanage of his childhood and begins to work at an orchard. He breaks some social stereotypes by living with several migrant workers in a bunkhouse, governed by a code of conduct known as the cider house rules. The rules are obviously useless to everyone (most are even illiterate), though those in the bunkhouse are expected to abide by them. Subtle and not so subtle messages like this are found throughout the movie.
While at the orchard, Homer learns about an incestuous relationship between his employer and daughter, and desires to help this girl by giving her an abortion. Obviously, there is much adult content here. Not much of it is uplifting or glorifying to the Lord. In sympathizing with the characters, we are taught that their actions are both forgivable and actually permissible. While Christians are to extend grace and forgiveness, the Bible is clear that certain rules are not to be broken and exist for our own protection. God loves us and cares deeply for us. Beware of the philosophy behind “The Cider House Rules”.
There are sex scenes, drug use is depicted, nudity is shown, and well as some violence.
Year of Release—1999