Picture from The Cider House Rules
Overall D+

The rules for the Cider House were written long ago, but not until Homer Wells (Toby Maguire) comes to work at the orchard in the 1940's do the illiterate apple pickers of the run-down residence hear what the rules are.

Violence C
Sexual Content D
Profanity B
Substance Use B-

The Cider House Rules

The rules for the Cider House were written long ago, but not until Homer Wells (Toby Maguire) comes to work at the orchard in the 1940's do the illiterate apple pickers of the run-down residence hear what the rules are. They and Homer all agree that the people who wrote the rules had never lived in the Cider House, so why should they, as residents, have to follow them.

The Cider House Rules - Official Site This same logic is used throughout the film, justifying everything from falsifying credentials, engaging in promiscuous sexual relations, performing illegal abortions, and ignoring murder.

Raised in an orphanage under the care of Dr. Larch, Homer was privy to observing many of Larch's procedures -- including abortions. But even after witnessing a young girl whose life was endangered by a botched abortion attempt from an untrained person, Homer cannot accept Larch's pro-choice arguments and believes self-control is the answer.

The Cider House Rules - Official Site Homer determines to leave the orphanage and Wally and Candy (Paul Rudd & Charlize Theron), an unmarried couple who came for an abortion, provide Homer a ride. Out of friendship, Wally gets Homer a job at his family's apple orchard. But when Wally returns to the war, Candy offers Homer more than that. Homer's arguments for self-control vanish as they begin an ongoing impulsive sexual relationship (resulting in complete female nudity from the back and clothed depiction of intercourse).

The Cider House Rules - Official Site Homer 0x2018s resolutions are tested again when he is faced with a young girl, pregnant from an incestuous relationship, desiring an abortion. He completes the procedure, and later is asked to turn a blind eye to a murder resulting from this domestic tragedy. Meanwhile as viewers, we are under similar pressure to believe that through this film's convincing use of beautiful music, sanitized photography, and carefully selected arguments, these controversial actions are justified.

This PG-13 film should be given careful consideration by parents. The implication that rules are only applicable if they suit your perspective, along with the depiction of sexual activities, incest, abortion, and murder give cause for concern when considering this film for family viewing.