Around the Fire (1998)

R  |   |  Drama  |  26 September 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 586 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 8 critic

Around the Fire is the deeply resonant story of a boy named Simon, who despite being raised in an upper-class Manhattan household with all its privileges--and restrictions--is haunted by ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Matt Harris
Lisa Burgett ...
Simon's mother
Blaine Walker ...
Young Simon
Manny the Hippie ...
Vegan GooBall Man
Heath Lourwood ...


Around the Fire is the deeply resonant story of a boy named Simon, who despite being raised in an upper-class Manhattan household with all its privileges--and restrictions--is haunted by the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of his mother. In Simon's eyes, his high-powered businessman father Matt wasted no time in remarrying his stepmother Lauren, a woman with a perfect facade whom he suspects of having an affair with Matt long before his mother's demise. When Simon is sent away to boarding school in preparation to attend Princeton, he meets Andrew, who introduces him to marijuana and LSD, and immerses him into a whole new world populated by dreamers, artists, utopians, flower children and partiers who spend the better part of their lives "on tour" at musical festivals. Simon is deeply moved by the beauty and freedom of these people, and feels they are the family he has always sought. At his very first concert Simon meets Jennifer, a beautiful young hippie to whom he is ... Written by B Dahlia <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Finding a place to belong is just the beginning. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive drug content, language, and some sex/nudity | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

26 September 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ali bruciate  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


Kate: Simon is an adult. He doesn't have to see you if he doesn't want to.
Lauren: There must be something we can do.
Kate: Well, you uh. You can stay and go through our family program, if you'd like.
Matt: Family program. It's outta the question.
Kate: Suit yourself.
Matt: We'll get a lawyer, we'll be back here in an hour. (to Lauren, about to walk away): Come on.
Lauren: No. Matt we've gotta stay.
Matt: Lauren, stay for, stay for what? This is...What are you gonna do sit around with a bunch of doctors examining our inner child?
See more »


Even After All
Written and Performed by Finley Quaye
used by permission of EMI Music Publishing Ltd. / Spirit Songs Ltd. / EMI Blackwood Muic
Courtesy of 550 Music and Sony Music Entertainment (UK) Limited
by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the better drug culture movies
27 February 2005 | by (Toronto, Ontario) – See all my reviews

After reading the comments about this movie being about how drugs are bad and how it's an anti drug movie...I feel that the commentators are incorrect.

This is NOT an anti drug movie. This was a movie about UNDERSTANDING self with or without the use of drugs.

In one scene the counselor makes a comment how people who use drugs can have no problems, some have minor problems and some all they do is have problems. So. it's not like there is a lecture on "DON'T USE DRUGS".

With a budget of just over 1 million dollars, this was an excellent example of both points of view. And no, the main character was not in rehab cause he was addicted, it was because he was busted by cops.

It's nice to see a movie about LSD/ACID and not have the characters act like total idiots or be outrageous losers. Not all ravers/hippies are losers and yes...some do actually hold jobs and get great grades in school...I was one of them.

The only problem I had with this film was that either the director had virtually no idea what acid/lsd does or weed, because the visions for lsd were not pshycadelic enough and the effects didn't match up anywhere what a real acid trip would be like.

A typical acid trip would change the person to be almost unstable for anyway between 8 to 16 hours. Whereas the characters in this film were basically only stoned for a mere matter of minutes, then were straight faced again.

Also the weed was either total garbage or the characters weren't inhaling. Pot smokers...and you know who you are...will realize that when you smoke weed, you are very outgoing and talkative and have a more poignant view on life. The stuff they smoked had to be cut with peppermint tea or lawn clippings, because their vocabulary was kinda dull and their conversations didn't lead to any enlightenment.

This film will not win any Oscars or other trophies, even though it beats out some that are nominated, but it is a good product which is not too far fetched.

Anti-drug??? No...not at all.

Also Stephen Tobolowsky is awesome, as always...would've loved to see more. Can this guy do no wrong? A few more minutes with the Doc character would have made this even better...maybe there was and is still in the can or the cutting room floor...anyways, Stephen Tobolowsky has a bit part, but he does his role great.

The hippie cop was so obvious...from first second, I knew he was POPO.

A few more minutes of film would have been greatly appreciated and the flashbacks could have been cleaned up a bit...I found them too overcast and visually harsh.

Performances were good, soundtrack was awesome. Lighting (flashbacks aside) was very well done.

Overall, I was please that I purchased this movie and with the small budget that this movie had, it accomplished much more than films with an 80 million dollar budget (League of Extraordinary Garbage...err I mean Gentlemen), Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines, Batman/action hereos, Matrix 1,2 and 3 and so many more big Hollywood Tom Cruise/Vin Diesel/Arnold/Halle Berry/Harrison Ford flicks.

Imagione...with the fraction of a paycheck that the big stars get, this movie company and many other independents can make better stories and be more interesting than the big so called blockbusters.

This film was o.k. and hell, with only minor oversights...there is no loss.

I'm glad to see that the characters didn't get all stupid or addicted or lose their entire life because they smoked a joint and dropped cid.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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