7.2/10
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29 user 23 critic

The Cement Garden (1993)

Not Rated | | Drama | 11 February 1994 (USA)
Four children try to hold things together and play a family in their isolated prefab house after the death of their parents. As they begin to deteriorate mentally, they hide their mom's festering corpse in a makeshift concrete sarcophagus.

Director:

Andrew Birkin

Writers:

Andrew Birkin, Ian McEwan (novel)
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2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Andrew Robertson ... Jack
Charlotte Gainsbourg ... Julie
Alice Coulthard ... Sue
Ned Birkin Ned Birkin ... Tom
Sinéad Cusack ... Mother
Hanns Zischler ... Father
Jochen Horst ... Derek, Julie's Friend
Gareth Brown Gareth Brown ... William
William Hootkins ... Commander Hunt (voice)
Dick Flockhart Dick Flockhart ... Truck Driver
Mike Clark Mike Clark ... Driver's Mate
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Storyline

After the death of her husband, the mother of Julie, Jack, Sue and Tom begins to suffer from a mysterious illness. Aware that she is going to have to go into hospital she opens a bank account for the children, so that they can be financially self-sufficient and will be able to avoid being taken into care by the authorities. Unfortunately she also dies and Julie and Jack (the older, teenage children) decide to hide her body in the basement so that they can have free reign of their household. Soon Tom has taken to dressing as a girl whilst Sue has become increasingly reticent, confiding only to her diary, meanwhile Jack and Julie sense an attraction developing for each other. However Julie's new beau, Derek, threatens to unearth the many dark secrets within this family as he becomes increasingly suspicious of Jack. Written by Jagged-11

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Love knows no limits.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Germany | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 February 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A cementkert See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$322,975
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ian Holm has an uncredited voice role. He dubbed the voice of the father, played by German actor Hanns Zischler. See more »

Goofs

When Jack brings in the tray to his mum, when she's in her room, he draws back the curtains to let some light in. However, the light obviously comes not from outside, but from a source of light somewhere above (not visible). See more »

Quotes

Julie: Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short, wear shirts and boots, because it's OK to be a boy, but for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, because you think that being a girl is degrading. But secretly you'd love to know what it's like, wouldn't you? What it feels like for a girl?
See more »


Soundtracks

Poor Little Rich Girl
Jamestown
(P. Rabiger / Edward Shearmur / S. Monti)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

strange, but lyrical, film
28 April 2001 | by thomandybishSee all my reviews

Disarmingly strange film about a family of children fending for themselves after first their father, then their mother dies. Oldest son Jack eschews responsibility, leaving next oldest Julie to handle the everyday chores. In the midst of all these devestating changes, Jack and Julie begin to develop a singularly unusual bond, one that is threatened when Julie invites the outside world into their private domain by dating an older man.

This film sparks comparisons to the similarly themed OUR MOTHER'S HOUSE, but the two films differ dramatically. While the children in OUR MOTHER'S HOUSE construct an elaborate fantasy world for themselves(based in part on the dead mother's fanatic religious beliefs), there's no such pretentious in THE CEMENT GARDEN. The children live in a cinder block house, with a cement garden out back, on a plot surrounded by a flat, desolate looking landscape. There are several scenes where the children sit around saying nothing, doing nothing, something that never happens in the other film's active household. The costumes and household furnishings are nondescript; you can't figure out if this film is set in the sixties or the nineties. The overall feel is one of banality, lethargy, and a total absence of passion or vitality. Perhaps it's only in a situation like this that the relationship Jack and Julie have can flourish, and Jack can transform from a petulant, self-absorbed boy to a responsible, loving young man. Strange atmosphere, but very rewarding.


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