In Blythe, California, a small town in the remote California desert, Ethan Inglebrink is an eccentric, agoraphobic heroin addict who is obsessed with his garden. This dark comedy follows ...
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In Blythe, California, a small town in the remote California desert, Ethan Inglebrink is an eccentric, agoraphobic heroin addict who is obsessed with his garden. This dark comedy follows the last days of Ethan's life as he struggles to find purpose at a time when it might be too late to even matter. After convincing his senior poker buddies that he is diabetic, in order to explain his frequent use of syringes, Ethan shoots up while trying to win poker money to fund his gardening hobby and drug use. Nearing eviction, Ethan gardens furiously in hopes of winning the $10,000 first prize in the "Garden of the Year" contest so he can pay his delinquent rent. Between sugar-munching binges and exchanges with a motley crew of neighbors, Ethan tries to grow the perfect "American cowslip", a beautiful, rare flower that will be the centerpiece of his garden and the floral representation of his life. When his efforts are thwarted by his landlord/high school football coach/next door neighbor, ...Written by
Just as it's name implies, this movie grew on me. It certainly left me with a feeling to see it again to make sure I had connected all the metaphoric dots creatively laid out for me.
The film weaves and knots a moral tale implying that we are all not only enablers but addicts to something, whether it be drugs, past glory, love, control or freedom. The characters' cracked facades only temporarily protect them from the dangers outside their front door and inside themselves. While leaning on each other, none of the characters ever obtain the help they help they need to "kick the habit" and it is their eventual undoing. It is a sad tale in which everyone looses something, unable to break out of the sweet sickness enabling their self-victimization.
While slow and repetitive at times, the characterizations are humanely broad enough that we see a little of ourselves in each one. The lighting of the film in golden and sunny overtones, the over-the-top silly humor at times, the fair-like set sweetens the bitter lesson this moralistic tale pours for us to swallow. Just as there is no such thing as an American Cowslip, there is no such thing as just an addict out of control.
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