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Fireflies in the Garden [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Julia Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe, Carrie-Ann Moss
  • Directors: Dennis Lee
  • Writers: Dennis Lee, Robert Frost
  • Format: Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English, French
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Alliance Films
  • Release Date: Feb. 21 2012
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006LXMKO4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #37,753 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

From the Studio

To an outsider, the Taylors are the very picture of the successful American family: Charles (Willem Dafoe) is a tenured professor on track to become university president, son Michael (Ryan Reynolds) is a prolific and well-known romance novelist, daughter Ryne (Shannon Lucio) is poised to enter a prestigious law school, and on the day we are introduced to them, matriarch Lisa (Julia Roberts) will graduate from college-decades after leaving to raise her children. But when a serious accident interrupts the celebration, the far more nuanced reality of this Midwestern family's history and relationships come to light.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
A different story, not for everyone but I thought it was good. Likely helps that it has one of my favourite actresses in it (Julia Roberts)
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
So happy to have this movie in my collection
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By linda lajoie on March 20 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I found it slow moving, however, it is life learning lessons about personalities and behaviours. I will be selling it at my next yard sale.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By linda ratz on Oct. 4 2014
Format: DVD
Great movie
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 75 reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Exploring the Sludge of a Dysfunctional Midwestern Family Feb. 26 2012
By Grady Harp - Published on
Verified Purchase
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, February 12
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Fireflies in the Garden Jan. 31 2012
By Carlos E. Velasquez - Published on
These are times in which movie audiences are subjected to extreme doses of special effects, action, animation, violence, sex and the like. And, in each category, the moviemakers are trying to outdo each other, in terms of being more innovative. So it is an immense risk to make old-fashioned dramas, not necessary romantic, but about life's daily struggles. Despite all the trends, they still need to be made, as to document our times. The very engaging "Fireflies in Garden" does just that: it is a painful and passionate look at a given modern family, like many others in this crazy planet.

Right at the beginning of the film, we meet Michael Taylor (Ryan Reynolds, in a well-acted dramatic role), a successful writer that is on his way to his hometown to celebrate his mother Lisa's (Julia Roberts) graduation from college. Michael is kind of hard to read or understand, and you can feel that for some reason he is unwillingly going back home. Once he arrives to his hometown, tragedy strikes, and what was supposed to be a happy celebration turns into an incredibly sad occasion. Once in the house, facing the harsh reality in his life, he is sadly taken to his past and his relationship with his disturbingly strict father Charles (Willem Dafoe), a successful college professor of literature, who is being groomed to be the president of his prestigious teaching institution. Michael also has to re-examine his bonds with his sister Ryne (Shannon Lucio), and his aunt Jane (Emily Watson).

Well-directed by Dennis Lee, "Fireflies in Garden" is about how the past defines the present, and the struggles that we have to endure to accept it. It goes right to the heart and I'm glad that I watched it. The DVD includes a making-of documentary. (USA, 2007, color, 89 min plus additional materials)

Reviewed on January 30, 2012 exclusively by Eric Gonzalez for Sony Pictures.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
MY GRADE: B plus to A minus. Sept. 20 2012
By MISTER SJEM - Published on
This is one of those sleeper high quality films except it probably won't get noticed terribly in DVD sales simply because it doesn't have explosions, isn't a rom-com and wasn't recommended by the Academy Awards. It's too bad because there's a lot of high quality acting and wonderful tone setting in this family drama.

Tale focuses upon a romance novelist reflecting on his abusive time as a child in which his father verbally and physically abused him and put him through "torture" when he was displeased with the boy. Now, after the death of his mother, he has to face his father's anger as well as all of the other dysfunctional family members. He's got a novel written that is about his life growing up and basically lays out all the family dirt and he's trying to decide whether to get it published or not.

There's a bittersweet taste to this film. At times you laugh, at times you feel like you just got hit in the gut and other times you feel people are going to work out their differences. It's one of those films that tries to reflect real life so sometimes there are no happy and complete resolutions but for myself I left the picture feeling satisfied with the delivery. It's nice to see a film every now and then that admits things aren't always resolved like a fairy tale. That's called fantasy, people. That said, I felt the main character worked things out just not in a Pollyanna manner.

There's an all star cast here, including several who took supporting roles: Willem Dafoe, Julia Roberts, Carrie-Ann Moss, Emily Watson, Ryan Reynolds, Hayden Panettiere and Ioan Gruffud.

The budget for this picture was $8M (which tells me a lot of big names took pay cuts to work on a project they believe in) but it only made a bit over $3M at the Box Office. We'll see if it does better in DVDs and residuals.

Written and directed by Dennis Lee. Some say his tale is autobiographical. Note that the movie was edited and seems to be missing over 20 minutes so their may be a director's cut at a later point.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: B plus to A minus; STORY/PLOTTING/EDITING: B plus; CHARACTERS/DIALOGUE: A minus; THEMES/FAMILY FOCUSES: B plus to A minus; WHEN WATCHED: mid September 2012; OVERALL GRADE: B plus to A minus.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Ummmmmm what was the point of this movie again? SPOILERS June 6 2015
By Jamie L. - Published on
This movie tried to be good. It tried to be good so hard. And I wanted to love it.

The most I can say is that it was touching.

But beyond that, there are just too many things that just didn't make sense, that didn't match up.

Let's start with the mom. It was never addressed that the mother was just as much at fault for the abuse as the father was for letting it happen. Granted, they may have been going for "realism", and that part was sure realistic. But then we have Jane. Growing up, she vowed to protect him, no matter what. YET as an adult, she acts like she's so very angry with the main character (most likely for the book issue) and even goes as far to blame them both when they are arguing at the table, when everyone can clearly see it was the father who caused it.....who ALWAYS caused it. And Jane knows this, yet is quick to point just as much blame on Michael as she does Charlie. But she SAW Charlie abusing him as a child. My question: Why she is okay with this now? Why did she stay in his life? Why is she angry about the book? It seems to me as though the there was one plot point and one plot point only:

Get over it. Your childhood is over, and you need to move on. Even at the expense of your sanity.

Everyone abandons Michael. Notice that? His mother dies (so unintentional abandonment). Jane abandons him by acting like the abuse (which is still going on) no longer matters. Charlie abandoned him from birth. His mother abandoned him as child by allowing the abuse to happen. And his wife abandoned him by being an alcoholic. So is this movie about abandonment? It sure feels like it.

Another part in the movie that I despise: His mother was ready to leave his father when she thought he was cheating on her. But mentally, physically, and verbally abuse her son and that's okay! This part made me hate her.

And in the end, Michael abandoned himself by burning the book. "It's okay, dad! You were hugging me at a birthday party in front of a camera (which most narcs will be sweet in front of a camera) so that makes my entire childhood and adulthood of being abused by you A-OKAY!"

He burns the book. Which I guess means he's not publishing it. He is in no way healed after this event. He had a good moment with his dad, by watching a good moment (a probably fake moment at that) from the past. But their relationship is in no way healed.

Honestly, Charlie seems mentally ill.

So what was the point of this movie again? A snapshot in time of a family event (a funeral)? There is no real ending, because without actual closure (which did not happen), psychologically, Michael could not actually heal and be okay with it all. And why didn't he ever ask Jane what her effing problem was?

CONFUSING! What why did he have that bracelet on? They kept on showing it, but it was never talked about.

ARRGGGGHHHHH! Honestly, I wanted to love this movie, but it drove me batshit crazy instead. Even my husband was confused by who Jane was because of the 180 of her personality as an adult. And there was no backstory as to why. The book? Why would she give two craps about hurting Charlie (which seemed to be a big deal to her) when she WITNESSED the abuse? She seemed like she morphed into her enabling sister.

So, tell me again, what was the point?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
great movie Dec 6 2012
By Katie Stephenson - Published on
Verified Purchase
Well written, directed, and excellent cast. Unexpected, unpredictable twists and an unusual plot. Julia Roberts is a star as usual.

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