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Is it a coincidence?

Poppyflower's picture

As I was looking up information for the film "Adaptation," as is per usual on any wikipedia search, I started to follow links that would feed me potentially interesting, though not particularly useful information. When I clicked on the link for orchids, I was somewhat surprised to find that Darwin, in his later years, had done research on the cross-pollination of orchids, featured in his book, "Fertilisation of Orchids," from 1862. While I do think it is interesting that a prevalent theme of the film revolves around orchids, I do not think it is a coincidence that they were featured in the movie, and that Darwin, who even makes a sort of 'cameo' appearance, studied them. I think that they way in which Charlie Kaufman incorporates all of these hidden elements into the movie is a part of why it was such a strong movie. The book off of which the film is based, "The Orchid Thief," does not seem, as the movie also points out, to have anything to drive the plot, which is perhaps why the writer chose to subtly incorporate Darwin into the film; something like a silent respect for his research. And  because the film is about the evolution of characters, it would seem only fitting to have Darwin present for a representation of the idea he is famous for. So is it a coincidence that both the real and the fictional Charlie Kaufman were trying to adapt "The Orchid Thief," and ended up with a reflection on Darwin, or was it carefully mapped out?


elly's picture

Define it for yourself

It must have been carefully mapped out, and we have said every film (especially Hollywood films) are planned to achieve a certain goal. Everyone may not agree with that fact but I definitey do. I find the inclusion of Darwin highly telling, and I keep thinking back to the death of the brother, and how he was represented as the more successful one in the end (even if he was playing into the Hollywood cliche) and he was killed off. What does this say about natural selection? Are they really messing with the idea of the dangers of playing into a typical ending, while referencing Darwin in the film at the same time? We kept asking whether the characters changed or evolved throughout the film, but either way this film is still fostering a dialogue about the inevitability of change (whether this is death?) or evolution (Charlie incorporating the traits of his brother?) We haven't come to definitive conclusions in this class when it comes to most of our questions (agency, evolution towards an ideal, truth, control over our own happiness etc) and yet we have all explored these issues in a way that will lead to our own definitions and answers for these concepts. This film does a similar thing for me...some of us will love it, some of us will hate it, and we will all take something different away from it, just as we did with Generosity and The Plague and even The Origin of Species.

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