10 Movies You Must Watch if You Love The Cider House Rules

While writing the article of “12 Best Tobey Maguire Movies”, I enlisted ‘The Cider House Rules’ as ”one of the most underrated films that has slowly gathered dust through the years”. Though I don’t like to use the term “underrated” I would certainly say that the film has not received the love it deserves. Directed by Lasse Hallström and written by John Irving, ‘The Cider House Rules’ is an adaption of Irving’s novel of the same name. The drama stars Tobey Maguire as Homer Wells, a young empathetic and compassionate man, who is raised in an orphanage and trained to become a doctor by the lovable Dr Wilbur Larch, essayed by Michael Caine. However, he starts to realize his inherent dream to experience the world and decides to leave and essentially come of age.

For this article, I have taken into account films that explore the genres of coming of age and family drama. They are all thematically and tonally similar to this criminally underrated 90s classic. Here’s the list of best movies similar to ‘The Cider House Rules’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these movies like ‘The Cider House Rules’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.

10. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

A comedy-drama, ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ follows Robin Williams as Daniel Hillard, an actor who, after being divorced, uses his talent to disguise as a female housekeeper to spend time with his children who are in the custody of his former wife. Directed by Chris Columbus and co-written by Randi Mayem Singer and Leslie Dixon, the film is an adaption of English novelist Anne Fine’s ‘Alias Madame Doubtfire’, published in 1987. Though the movie is not a great adaptation of the novel in terms of the narrative and filmmaking, what makes ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ such an enjoyable watch is the comedic charisma displayed by the legendary Robin Williams, for which he won the Golden Globe for “Best Actor”. The film has gone on to become a classic and was placed in the list of American Film Institute’s “AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs”.

9. Captain Fantastic (2016)

A comedy-drama, ‘Captain Fantastic’ is set in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, where a father who is devoted to raising his six kids with a laborious physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world. This brings new challenges as he is confronted with the philosophy and idea of what it means to be a parent. Written and directed by Matt Ross, the comedy-drama is built on a narrative that exploress themes of wilderness and parenthood. The writing is complemented by the empathetic performance by Viggo Mortensen as the strict yet compassionate father, for which he received the Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA for “Best Actor” nominations. ‘Captain Fantastic’ premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was also screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival, where Ross won the prestigious Un Certain Regard – “Prize for Best Director”.

8. Wonder (2017)

Adapted from R. J. Palacio’s novel ‘Wonder’, published in 2012, this comedy-drama tells the story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters the fifth grade and experiences the life at a “mainstream” elementary school for the first time. Directed by Stephen Chbosky and co-written by Jack Thorne, Steven Conrad and Chbosky, ‘Wonder’ is woven with compassion and love which makes the story of Pullman such a wonderful experience. The narrative is aided by the nuanced performances by Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay, who are essentially the soul of the film. The movie scored a rating of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes and was a massive commercial success, grossing $305.9 million against a budget of $20 million, thereby capturing the hearts of critics and audiences alike.

7. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Co-directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris and written by Michael Arndt, ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ follows the Hoover family, as they try to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant and take a cross-country trip in their VW bus. Winning two Academy Awards – Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor – ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ is a wonderful experience to watch. The film ventures into the territory of black comedy to showcase the Hoover family’s fixation with the beauty pageant competition. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews and was released theatrically in July in 2006.

6. Juno (2007)

Directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody, this film tells the story of Juno, a young, smart and independent girl whose life changes for the worse (or the better) when she finds herself facing the issue of an unplanned pregnancy. Juno has to now adapt to the situation and has to emotionally mature into an adult to deal with such serious challenges. An independent coming of age comedy, the film is a considerate and empathetic look at teenage pregnancy and the social taboos which plague us. ‘Juno’ premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and received a standing ovation. In addition, the film was met with critical acclaim for the performances, the direction and screenplay.

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5. Parenthood (1989)

Directed by Ron Howard and co-written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, ‘Parenthood’ centres around a mid-western family known as the Buckmans. The film follows the family as they deal with various issues — from estranged relatives, raising children, pressures of the job, and learning to be a good family member. ‘Parenthood’ is spearheaded by the wonderful performances of Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen and Dianne Wiest, who help the filmmaker in crafting an educative, dramatic and hilarious family drama. The movie scored 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, earned two Academy Award Nominations and has spawned two critically acclaimed television series in 1990 and 2010.

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4. The Incredibles (2004)

One of the most defining animated films of the 2000s, ‘The Incredibles’ is a deft blend of the genre of superhero and family comedy drama.  Written and directed by Brad Bird, the film is the story of Parr’s, a family of undercover superheroes, i.e. the “Incredibles”. Their superhero lives take a backseat when civilians protest against the damage they cause and now they try to live the quiet suburban life, away from the limelight. However, they are forced into action, when a new threat seems to emerge, which wants to be the new face of the superhero figure. Though it’s a superhero film, ‘The Incredibles’ is essentially about a dysfunctional family that tries to work together, which makes it a such an invigorating watch. With brilliant voice performances, writing, direction, animation and a resonating musical score, the Academy Award-winning film is a true modern classic.

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3. Roma (2018)

Written and directed by master-craftsman Alfonso Cuarón, ‘Roma’ is set in the 70s, and chronicles a year in the life of a middle-class family’s maid, Cleo, in Mexico City. The film swept away the hearts of cinema connoisseurs and instantly became the critics’ darling. The narrative of the film stems from Cuarón’s childhood in the Colonia Roma neighbourhood of Mexico City, which makes it a semi-autobiographical account of the filmmaker. ‘Roma’ premiered Venice International Film Festival and bagged the prestigious Golden Lion. In addition, the film also won big at the mainstream award ceremonies. The director bagged the “Best Director” award at the Academy Awards, the BAFTA and Golden Globes, to name a few. The movie itself hit big by winning the “Best Picture” at the Academy Awards (Foreign Language), BAFTA and the Golden Globes (Foreign Language). Although awards don’t define the quality of a film, the artistic brilliance of ‘Roma’ cannot be denied.

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2. Paddington 2 (2017)

Adapted from British author Michael Bond’s novel series of the same name, ‘Paddington’ follows the lovable Paddington, who is now happily settled with the Brown family and has become a popular member of the local community. When his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday comes around the corner, he tries to work in a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for her. However, when he accomplishes his endeavour, he learns that the gift is stolen. Directed by Paul King and co-written by Simon Farnaby and King, the film is one of the few sequels which are better than their predecessors. It scored a perfect rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. With a delicious blend of comedy and drama, ‘Paddington 2’ is a treat that just cannot be missed.

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1. Boyhood (2014)

There are few films which capture the essence of life, teenage and family so beautifully. Richard Linklater crafted, in my opinion, the finest coming of age film of all time. ‘Boyhood’ chronicles the life of Mason, from early childhood to his arrival at college. While the filmmaking process is never taken into consideration in the quality of the film itself, one has to credit Linklater’s hard work as an artist to craft such a deeply evocative, nostalgic film. The project was filmed over a span of 12 years, with the director adapting and changing the screenplay in accordance with the actual life of Ellar Coltrane, who plays the role of the protagonist. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and later competed in the main competition of the Berlin International Film Festival, where Linklater won the Silver Bear for Best Director.

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