Fireflies in the Garden
The beatific title comes from a poem by Robert Frost. In this film, it is also the name of a confessional manuscript by novelist Michael Waechter (Ryan Reynolds). An autobiographical account of his childhood, Michael’s book is designed to put the boot into his mum (Julia Roberts), his frustrated academic dad (Willem Dafoe) and his sister (Emily Watson). Michael is particularly aggrieved by his father’s disapproval of his childhood attempt to pass off a Robert Frost poem as his own at a poetry reading, embarrassing dad in front of his colleagues. But then a freak car accident forces him to re-evaluate his judgements.
Throw in Michael’s sexy ex-wife (Carrie Ann Moss), and the discovery of his mother’s secret lover (Ioan Gruffudd), and you’ve got an all-star soap opera, but one director Dennis Lee never brings to the boil. With flashbacks to 20 years ago looking no different to events in the present day, the blame falls squarely on Lee and his director of photography Danny Moder (Roberts’ husband). While Fireflies in the Garden looks good, Moder’s approach is too conservative to lend any emotional depth to the material. A high calibre dud.
Selected release from Fri 29 May.