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Gardens of the Night (2008)

 -  Drama  -  21 November 2008 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 2,944 users   Metascore: 43/100
Reviews: 18 user | 29 critic | 5 from Metacritic.com

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

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Leslie
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Michael
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Young Leslie
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Alex
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Frank
Jermaine Scooter Smith ...
Young Donnie (as Jermaine 'Scooter' Smith)
...
Orlando
...
Jimmy
Raynold Gideon ...
Judge Feeney
...
Mrs. Feeney
Natalie May ...
Judge's Daughter
...
Pa
...
Ma
...
Donnie
...
Blackberry John
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Storyline

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

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

21 November 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jardins da Noite  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Leslie: Friends are just people who haven't fucked you over yet.
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Soundtracks

Mixed berry
Written and performed by Paul Layton
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User Reviews

 
tentative, timid, but how else could it be?
8 October 2014 | by (Victoria, BC. Canada) – See all my reviews

It is difficult to make a movie about childhood abductions. You can't risk traumatising the child actors. You dare not make it so realistic that you are accused of producing porn for sexual predators that encourages them to crime. What actor wants a role more stigmatising than Norman Bates? apparently Tom Arnold.

This movie tackles the problem by showing a series of events perhaps 1% as traumatic as a real abduction, letting you fill in the other possibilities with your imagination. They chose a child actor for the abducted child, Leslie, who had no skill at acting at all. She is not in the least convincing, which makes her performance unreal, sort of a Kabuki telling of a story rather than a realistic re-enacting of events.

Certain things made no sense. Young Leslie is hopelessly naive. No child of her age could be that unaware of the dangers of interacting with strangers. The abductors do a dry run and release Leslie to identify them. That makes absolutely no sense.

Later we see Leslie as a teen. She smokes. She is addicted to cocaine. She is a hooker and a pimp. She treats her friends with contempt. She lives in squalor. She has a general screw-you to everyone and everything. The only bright spot in her life is a boy, Donny, who was abducted around the same time she was who has maintained his devotion to her, even though she spits on him.

A counselor (John Malkovich) figures out who she is and arranges a visit home to be reunited with her parents. The family is like the Ward and June Cleavers. She feels too soiled to fit in and leaves in the middle of the night without leaving word. And the movie ended.

I could not decipher what she planned to do next -- try to find her boyfriend, take up hooking again, something else? I did not really care. She had become such a selfish monster.

You saw no transition from the lamb-like abducted child to the hard- boiled hooker. They seemed two completely unrelated people. If someone were to make another film with a similar theme, they should fill in some of the transition.

Though he gets top billing, Malkovich has only a bit part, most of which he spends reading forms aloud.


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