Fireflies in the Garden Directed by: Dennis Lee Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe, Emily Watson, Julia Roberts Running Time: 1 hr 29 mins Rating: R Due Out: February 7, 2012
PLOT: A tragic accident befalls the Taylor family in a time that is meant for celebration. This leads to old demons with Michael (Reynolds) and his father (Dafoe).
WHO'S IT FOR? Do you like family drama? I'm not talking about the kind where you look back years later and laugh about it. I'm talking about family drama that thrashes you around for years leaving you feeling weighed down.
Coming home is hard for some people and Michael Taylor (Reynolds) fits that bill easy enough. Coming home to a sudden tragedy is near impossible. Surrounded by really good, intense family drama is the feeling of "near impossible," but that doesn't stop Fireflies in the Garden being a solid film. It deserves better. What I mean by that is, this film leaked out in theaters in 2008 for a second, wasn't supported by its studio, and now is finally out of video. It's worth your time, especially if you like to revisit your painful childhood through film.
Everyone needs healing from their childhood, right? Maybe I just feel that way. Well, with Charles being an angry dick of the father, and sometimes just plain cruel, it's easy to see his son's pain. Michael wants
Pain surrounds everyone in this cast, whether it's present day or the flashbacks. It doesn't feel forced, it feels natural. Michael and his young cousin get the bulk of the demons here. It makes you realize there might not be anything more important than telling a child, "It's not your fault."
Again, there is the feeling of "near impossible." Not only does the Taylor family have to deal with a tragedy, there are some coincidences that feel too quick to dismiss. The fast running time (an hour and a half) feels a little too speedy. That doesn't stop Fireflies in the Garden from manipulating the tears right out of you, but it does give you a feeling of being forced or rushed. Reynolds gives a very solid performance. He's at his best when being flippant with his little cousins. Dafoe is such a powerful presence, even though it's normally for evil and not for good.
Fireflies in the Garden embraces the idea of having the demons of your dad, and the spirit of your mom.
MOVIE SCORE: 7/10
A Flash of Life: The Making of "Fireflies in the Garden"