An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
A man who lost his family in the September 11 attack on New York City runs into his old college roommate. Rekindling the friendship is the one thing that appears able to help the man recover from his grief.
Jada Pinkett Smith
A family with an abusive father, a sensitive son, and a mother out of her depth: we see them when Michael is about 12 and when he's in his 30's, a writer of romance novels, going home for his mother and sister's college graduations. We go back and forth between the two periods: when Michael is a boy, the pressure builds until a break is threatened and there's a fight; during his trip home, there's an unexpected death, and renewed relationships between father and son, Michael and his aunt, and Michael and his aunt's young children. Michael's estranged wife joins them for the funeral. Written by
Dennis Lee adapts Frost's poem with the same title. With such a big names associated with it, I wonder why 'Fireflies in the Garden' never got a US theatrical release. It is a well executed film. Danny Moder's cinematography is breathtaking and Javier Navarrete's score is superb. The story has an interesting premise but it needed fleshing out. It looks patchy at times. The casting is also a little awkward. Emily Watson and Hayden Panettiere are too different to play the same character convincingly and this was difficult for me to overlook. That said, Panettiere was quite decent and Watson is first rate but she deserved more screen time (and her character, the older Jane, needed more fleshing out). Ditto for Julia Roberts who, despite of a small role, has a strong presence throughout the entire film. I find her character's actions questionable. For example why does she choose to leave her husband when he cheats on her while all those years she stays with him when he's abusing their son? Ryan Reynolds shows growth as an actor. He displayed maturity in 'Definitely, Maybe' and seems to be going the right way as an actor. Willem Dafoe too does a terrific job from being the hateful father to being the softer old man but I would have liked to see more of the transformation in Charles because on the one hand he is shown to be a loving father (as shown in the home video) but on the other hand he doesn't seem to have changed much (the scene in the car when they're on their way to visit Jane and his temper at the dinner table). The director could have shown more of Lisa and Charles during their later years. I also liked Cayden Boyd's performance. Ioan Gruffudd and Carrie-Anne Moss do not have more than a couple of scenes. 'Fireflies in the Garden' seems like a well intentioned movie but it appears too rushed and patchy to fully involve the viewer. It needed more than 95 minutes of screen time. The visuals, soundtrack and performances make it a decent watch.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?