Fireflies in the Garden is Dennis Lee‘s first feature film, starring Ryan Reynolds, Willem Defoe, Julia Roberts, Emily Watson, Carrie-Anne Moss and Hayden Panettiere.
Michael (Ryan Reynolds) is on his way home to celebrate the graduation of his sister. But when he arrives at his aunt Jane’s (Emily Watson) house where everybody is supposed to meet, he finds out that his father Charles (Willem Defoe) and his mother Lisa (Julia Roberts) were just in a car accident that ended fatally for Lisa.
In the light of this loss, Michael grapples with his ex-addicted wife (Carrie -Anne Moss), the autobiographical book he is about to publish, and most of all with his abusive father.
The movie has a decent cast but was so incredibly boring, I have no idea why I actually finished it at all. And the ending sucks.
First, let’s talk about the ending. So, Michael realises that his father wasn’t only abusive, but that there were good moments, too. So, Michael makes his peace with Charles and then Michael burns the manuscript of the book he’s written about his youth and growing up with his jerk of a dad. Which, you know, is all very nice and such and I know that there’s a lot of power in forgiveness and yaddayadda but seriously, people, you don’t have to be nice to your abuser. It is not automatically necessary for your well-being to forgive. It can also be incredibly liberating to say, “you know what? He’s an asshole who mistreated me for most of my life. He can kiss my ass.”
Unfortunately, all we ever hear about is the beautiful forgiveness-story. And especially in this case I didn’t think that Charles actually deserved this forgiveness at all. He was still an asshole. He just wasn’t 99% of the time anymore, but 85%.
Though I have to admit that this might sound like a rant – but this movie actually didn’t inspire enough emotion to make me really care either way.
The characters remained distant. Even though the cast was good enough (especially Emily Watson and Willem Defoe), we never got enough to hold on to with their roles. Apart from Michael, nobody ever really got any motivation, for example. And apart from young!Michael (Cayden Boyd) and young!Jane (Hayden Panettiere) no relationship was ever really developped.
The cinematography was pretty nice, though. Made a little bit up for the lacking script.
Summarising: It’s no surprise that this movie didn’t get a wider release. And it’s no great loss, either.