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Tom's Midnight Garden (1999)

6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 431 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 5 critic

Young Tom Long is forced to stay with his kindly Aunt and Uncle while his brother recovers from a bout of the measles. At their flat, he is disappointed to find there is no garden to play ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: Tom's Midnight Garden (1999)

Tom's Midnight Garden (1999) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nigel Le Vaillant ...
Thomas Long (adult)
Marlene Sidaway ...
Doris Schuster
Serena Gordon ...
Melody Long
Alfie Lawrence ...
Harriet Long
Mel Martin ...
Alice Long
...
Aunt Gwen Kitson
...
Uncle Alan Kitson
Anthony Way ...
Tom Long
Nick Robinson ...
Peter Long
Liz Smith ...
Mrs. Willows
Arlene Cockburn ...
Susan the Maid
Tom Bowles ...
Mr. Ferguson
...
...
Abel
...
Hubert
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Storyline

Young Tom Long is forced to stay with his kindly Aunt and Uncle while his brother recovers from a bout of the measles. At their flat, he is disappointed to find there is no garden to play in; but his disappointment turns to wonder when he discovers a magical garden which only appears at night when an old grandfather clock strikes thirteen. His nightly excursions to this beautiful garden become even more interesting when he realises that the people he meets cannot see him - except one young girl named Hattie. Written by Rhino <rhino@blueyonder.co.uk>

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Plot Keywords:

garden | girl | clock | measles | wig | See more »

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It was a special time... and a special place


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

13 October 2000 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Tom's Midnight Garden  »

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

[talking about Hatty]
James: Why do you hate her so much?
Aunt Melbourne: I hate her because it's so easy for the rest of you to love her.
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Connections

Version of Tom's Midnight Garden (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

After Always
Written by Debbie Wiseman & Don Black
Performed by Barbara Dickson & Miriam Stockley
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User Reviews

 
Passable adaptation of the novel
13 September 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

TOM'S MIDNIGHT GARDEN, the late '90s adaptation of a classic children's novel of the 1950s written by Philippa Pearce, is a passable slice of entertainment that has both good and bad elements to recommend it. While it's entertaining enough as the story progresses, I couldn't help being disappointed in its failure to capture the magical qualities of the written story, which make it one of my favourite children's books of all time.

One of the problems is writer/director Willard Carroll's Americanisation of the material. This is quite subtle for the most part, but Carroll is far too obsessed with cheesy, computer-based special effects over story. Thus we get the ridiculous scene of Tom opening and closing the door and watching the furniture change over and over again, which is as redundant as it is silly. Less effects and tighter storytelling would have been the obvious choice here.

Still, the film looks the part, and the design of the titular garden is particularly strong. The young actress who plays Hattie gives the best performance in the whole thing, while Prince William-lookalike Anthony Way is adequate as Tom. There's a good eye for the supporting cast, which includes nice, if minor, roles for David Bradley and Liz Smith and an alluring turn from Greta Scacchi.

Sadly I did find that the story started to lose me as it progressed, and the last third is noticeably weaker than the preceding two. It happens when Hattie starts to grow up; scenes which should be poignant and heartbreaking are anything but, and I think that's a problem both with Way's acting and the deficiencies of the script. The added, present-day wraparound material (which wasn't in the book) is also unnecessary and distracting.

For me, the definitive version of the story is the BBC miniseries of 1989, which haunted and spellbound me as a child in equal measure. If only that had a DVD release!


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