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Gardens of the Night (2008)

R  |   |  Drama  |  21 November 2008 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 3,287 users   Metascore: 43/100
Reviews: 22 user | 29 critic | 5 from

After being abducted as children, and suffering years of abuse, a teenage boy and girl find themselves living on the street.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Young Leslie
Jermaine Scooter Smith ...
Young Donnie (as Jermaine 'Scooter' Smith)
Raynold Gideon ...
Judge Feeney
Mrs. Feeney
Natalie May ...
Judge's Daughter
Blackberry John


An 8-year-old girl is taken from her home and convinced that her family does not want her anymore. After enduring years of horror, she and her fellow victim are dumped by their capturers. Now, 17 years old and no one to turn to except each other, they do their best to survive life on the streets, until one day she finally accepts the help of a shelter counselor to find her way home. However, what she truly finds is the love of her life and that you can never go back. "Gardens of the Night", is a haunting, gritty and topical story which delves deep into the world of child abduction and where it often leads... for the "lucky ones." The writer/director, Damian Harris bases his story on the kids, counselors, cops and pimps he met during two years of research. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing content involving sexual exploitation of a child, language, sexual content and some drug use

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

21 November 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jardins da Noite  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The homeless shelter that the adult Leslie visits is located in the Little Italy section of downtown San Diego. In real life it is not a homeless shelter, but as of March of 2010 the building is home to a local car rental business. See more »


Young Leslie: [reading] Then they began their long flight. And the flight of the Monkey People, through tree-land, is one of the things nobody can describe.
See more »


Red Hot Latin
Courtesy of Opus I Production Music Library
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User Reviews

Every Parent Should Watch This Movie
1 April 2009 | by (Fairfax, VA) – See all my reviews

"Gardens of the Night" is about two children, Leslie and Donnie, kidnapped by two men and their lives together. It's directed by newcomer Damian Harris who based his story on the kids, counselors, police officers, and pimps that he met during his two years of research. His years of perfecting the story was seen in how well made this movie was. As a parent, I felt the pain of what would happen if my child was taken and having to endure the horrors that these children did for over nine years. After they get too old, they are dumped by their captors and left to fend for themselves.

The actors did an amazing job bringing this script to life. The two children, Rayn Simpkins and Jermaine Scooter Smith, who play the young Leslie and Donnie really showed the pain that children who have dealt with this probably felt. I was impressed on how well they did for being so young. I was glad that they didn't get too graphic on the parts when the children had to do deal with pedophiles because I probably would have nightmares for awhile thinking about how this really happens every day. The director was able to make his point across without showing too much. Some other directors would have gone for the shock factor, so I am glad that he was smart enough to realize that he would have lost his audience doing that.

The cinematography was great because it didn't look like it was made in a fancy studio. It gave the feel like you were actually there with them throughout the entire ordeal. I also like how they show how this is usually a vicious cycle that occurs and that it usually doesn't just end. You expect a big, happy ending where everything is perfect at the end, and I am glad that he kept it realistic. Every parent should watch this. Even if you aren't a parent, you probably should. It will make you think twice about what to do if you see a sad child, who doesn't seem like he/she belongs with that adult, looking at you with helpless eyes.

29 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Any other survivors of sexual abuse find it... comforting? tutorwife93
So hard to watch! My advice; avoid at all costs! ebc1973
One thing I didn't get.. SamMerlotte
Why do they always case beauty queens as abuse victims? Its not realist andrew-i-sindler
Is Tom Arnold Oscar-worthy? Corndogg-5
Gilian was too pretty to play the older Leslie?! What?! LexRox
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