[[VIDEOID:mo3DE88AOMMNUO9]]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.