6.9/10
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Gardens of the Night (2008)

R | | Drama | 21 November 2008 (USA)
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After being abducted as children, and suffering years of abuse, a teenage boy and girl find themselves living on the street.

Director:

Damian Harris

Writer:

Damian Harris
3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gillian Jacobs ... Leslie
John Malkovich ... Michael
Ryan Simpkins ... Young Leslie
Tom Arnold ... Alex
Kevin Zegers ... Frank
Jermaine Scooter Smith Jermaine Scooter Smith ... Young Donnie (as Jermaine 'Scooter' Smith)
Harold Perrineau ... Orlando
Jeremy Sisto ... Jimmy
Raynold Gideon ... Judge Feeney
Cornelia Guest ... Mrs. Feeney
Natalie May Natalie May ... Judge's Daughter
Ben Lin ... Pa
Alice Lo ... Ma
Evan Ross ... Donnie
Landall Goolsby ... 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 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 November 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jardins da Noite See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,072, 9 November 2008, Limited Release
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an interview with Filmmaker Magazine director Damien Harris said that since they couldn't tell the child actors what the story was actually about, they came up with an alternative story. It was that Alex (Tom Arnold) had been left by his wife and so he was living alone with Frank (Kevin Zegers), his good buddy, and he wanted a family so these two kids would become his children. There was not going to be a mother, because the mother had left. Frank was now jealous because he thought that he wasn't Alex's favorite anymore, so that's why he was being mean. Then for the specific scenes with Leslie (Ryan Simpkins), they came up with a scenario that fitted emotionally where she had to be, so they didn't have to tell her anything beyond that. Harris came up with that version of the story with the Ryan Simpkin's mother. See more »

Quotes

Young Leslie: [last lines - reading] "Come back", she whispered, "come back, for I love you. Come back again, by night or by day. This door is never shut to you." Mowgli's throat worked as though the cords in it were being pulled, and his voice seemed to be dragged from it as he answered, "I will surely come back."
See more »

Soundtracks

Nick Nack Paddy Whack
Traditional
Courtesy of Opus I Production Music Library
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User Reviews

 
Every Parent Should Watch This Movie
1 April 2009 | by dcfemellaSee 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.


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