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Fireflies in the Garden (2008)

 -  Drama  -  17 July 2008 (Greece)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 9,531 users   Metascore: 34/100
Reviews: 49 user | 65 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

The Taylor family is devastated by an accident that takes place on the day their matriarch is due to graduate from college -- decades after leaving to raise her children.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Charles Taylor
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Kelly Hanson (as Carrie Anne Moss)
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Addison Wesley
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Ryne
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Jimmy (as George Newburn)
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Leslie
Diane Perella ...
Flight Attendant
Natalie Karp ...
Social Worker
John C. Stennfeld ...
Reverend Byers (as Reverend John Stennfeld)
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

For one family, a chance to start again... See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 July 2008 (Greece)  »

Also Known As:

Luciérnagas en el jardín  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$36,884 (USA) (14 October 2011)

Gross:

$36,884 (USA) (14 October 2011)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(theatrical) | | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Julia Roberts and Ryan Reynolds were to previously star in The Proposal, until Roberts dropped out due to salary demands. See more »

Goofs

When Kelly first appears walking into the house after the funeral, the boom mic is visibly above the doorway. See more »

Connections

References Ergo Proxy (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Walk Through This World With Me
Written by Sandra Seamons, Kay Savage
Published by Glad Music and Pappy Daily Music
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User Reviews

 
Exploring the Sludge of a Dysfunctional Midwestern Family
26 February 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

FIREFLIES IN THE GARDEN is a perplexing movie. The story seems as though someone threw the script up in the air with the fireflies in the garden (a quite beautiful moment in the film that suggest the night gardens of John Singer Sergent's 'Carnation Lily, Lily Rose'), shot it full of holes and then reassembled it the next groggy morning. Pieces are simply missing: we are informed that the original version is 122 minutes while this version is only 89 minutes and it is likely that in the missing 33 minutes many of the unresolved and very confusing elements of time and place and character development and perplexing moments existed. Writer/Director Dennis Lee obviously had a fine story to share and a brilliant cast to offer it, but so much of it is missing that we are left frustrated.

Successful Romance novelist Michael Taylor (Ryan Reynolds) has completed his latest novel, a work of serious memoir literature in which he has recounted his childhood in an attempt to free himself from the influence of his demonic father, English professor Charles Taylor (William Dafoe) who seriously abused Michael as a child and for whom he holds little emotion but disdain. Michael has returned home for the college graduation of his sister Ryne (Shannon Lucio) as well as his mother's - Lisa (Julia Roberts) - deferred graduation. But the celebration is altered by an accident: Charles swerved to not hit his nephew Christopher (Chase Ellison), hit a pole resulting in a crash that killed Lisa and injured Charles and leaves Christopher with a dark cloud of guilt that he caused the trauma.

We gradually meet the family: Lisa's sister Jane (Emily Watson) is the mother of Christopher and his little sister and has always been the closest friend of Michael when they were children (as children, Michael is portrayed by Cayden Boyd and Jane by Hayden Panettiere ), At Lisa's funeral Michael's 'ex-wife', AA reformed Kelly (Carrie-Anne Moss) shows up to add to Michael's angst. From here the film jumps back and forth between the childhood of Michael and Jane and the suffering and abuse Michael endured at the hands of his grotesquely diabolical father and the secrets of that failed family life are gradually exposed and the traumatic present. In cleaning out Lisa's things Michael discovers some information that alters his view of his past, and those discoveries lead to a change in the way Michael views his father and Jane's children and most significantly the demons that have burdened him through his life.

In addition to the fine work by Reynolds, Watson, Dafoe, Roberts, and all the other cast members, there is an important cameo for Ioan Gruffudd that opens the murk of the story well. Though this journey through the progress of a dysfunctional family has been done many times before and even frequently using the protagonist as a novelist about to open the secrets of the family's lives to the world, this story take some significant alternative routes that make it more tender. The uses of flashbacks could have been better edited so that the audience is aware of when the character changes occur, and there are many unanswered questions about how each of these characters came to inhabit the human roles they present here. But given the fact that the audience must stay completely alert during this film in order to follow this at times meandering story, this is a worthy film. One wonders why the missing 33 minutes were not included in the American release (the film was made in 2007 and it seems as though it never played the theaters, going instead directly to DVD). With a cast of this caliber this should have been a popular film. But where did those missing pages take us?

Grady Harp


16 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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