After a series of unfortunate events, Paul Carpenter (Patrick Gibson) misses a job interview at a coffee shop. He finds himself in a mysterious company being interviewed by a panel of board members for a job he knows nothing about. When Paul notices a map in the wallpaper of the boardroom, the interview ends abruptly and he’s convinced that he won’t get this desperately needed job. Much to his surprise, Paul is hired and asked to report to the offices of J.W. Wells and Co. the next morning.
At J.W. Wells and Co., Paul finds himself sharing an office with Sophie (Sophie Wilde), a fast-tracked overachiever who wants nothing to do with him and who knows nothing about her job either. Before long, CEO Humphrey Wells (Christoph Waltz) and his partner Dennis Tanner (Sam Neill) secretly task Paul with the job of finding a missing portable door that doesn’t want to be found. Paul searches everywhere for the door. In the process he discovers that the company and its employees aren’t what they seem to be.
When Paul finally locates the door, he and Sophie use it for their own purposes, travelling the world, until the door takes Paul to a place he was never meant to see. Here Paul hears firsthand about Humphrey’s evil plot to steal souls. Paul sees how Sophie has been used as a guinea pig in this plot. But before they can reclaim Sophie’s soul, Paul and Sophie are discovered and trapped in a realm of doors. Here they encounter Humphrey’s missing father (also played by Christoph Waltz), who disappeared without a trace many years before.
Working together, they realise that if they can get Humphrey’s soul to the ‘Bank of the Dead’, they’ll be able to free Sophie and control Humphrey. But will any of the doors they’re trapped behind ever let them out?
Corporate life; corruption; magic; greed and the lust for power
- A man is pushed into a fountain by an invisible force.
- Dennis warns Paul that Humphrey has a very violent temper and no patience for failure. Denis says that when Paul fails, he’ll be gutted, impaled, disembowelled, chopped, marinated, poached and peeled, among other torturous punishments.
- Humphrey is said to have been an evil child who made his own father disappear.
- Paul discovers that Humphrey is making people sign their souls over to him in the fine print of contracts he creates. Humphrey is able to influence Sophie and make her do things against her will and hopes to do this to many other people.
- A character says threateningly, ‘You had better hope he is too busy to bother killing you’.
- Humphrey turns random goblins into office supplies.
- When Paul and Sophie discover Humphrey’s father, he tells them that there’s no way out. He says they’ll die, and he’ll be stuck with two decomposing corpses and nowhere to put them.
- Goblins attack Paul and Sophie.
- Balls of magical fire are blasted and thrown in every direction as Humphrey and his father attack each other.
- Paul is thrown through the air. He hits the wall and lands unconscious.
- Humphrey pins his father to the ground and electrocutes him. Sophie is also immobilised on the ground and surrounded by electrical currents. Humphrey threatens Sophie and is slowly killing his father.
The Portable Door has some sexual references. For example, there’s a reference to a mother who had an affair.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
The Portable Door shows some use of substances. For example:
- Paul repeatedly mentions a bar across the street from the office and awkwardly broaches the subject of ‘debrief drinks’ and ‘after work drinks’ with Sophie.
- Paul and Sophie have beers in a pub.
Nudity and sexual activity
The Portable Door has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- An office worker makes kissy lips at Paul and saunters around him seductively.
- A receptionist kisses and licks her stapler, saying how much she loves it.
- A couple of goblins kiss very passionately.
- Paul and Sophie kiss each other.
There’s no product placement in The Portable Door.
There’s some coarse language, name-calling and insults in The Portable Door.
Ideas to discuss with your children
The Portable Door is a fantasy adventure based on the book of the same name by Tom Holt. The characters are well cast, but the plot is fairly predictable.
Although his might seem to be a family movie, it isn’t suitable for younger children. It’s best suited to tween and older audiences.
The main messages from The Portable Door are that there’s no such thing as coincidence, but if you truly believe in yourself, you can have a powerful effect and make incredible changes.
Values in The Portable Door that you could reinforce with your children include determination, trust, ingenuity, adventure and loyalty.
The Portable Door could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the real-life consequences of things like:
- putting personal desires and greed before everything else
- going to any lengths to get what you want
- trusting the wrong people
- judging people based on first impressions.