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Fireflies in the Garden (2011)

Ryan Reynolds , Willem Dafoe , Dennis Lee  |  R |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe, Emily Watson, Carrie-Anne Moss, Julia Roberts
  • Directors: Dennis Lee
  • Writers: Dennis Lee, Robert Frost
  • Producers: Jere Hausfater, Marco Weber, Milton Liu, Philip Rose, Sukee Chew
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 7, 2012
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0068MNO2U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,495 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Fireflies in the Garden" on IMDb

Special Features

A Flash of Life: The Making of Fireflies in the Garden

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.

A first feature film for writer-director Dennis Lee, Fireflies in the Garden is a powerful work about the complexity of family relationships. The star-studded cast includes Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe, Emily Watson, Julia Roberts, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Hayden Panettiere. Through a series of flashbacks, the story reveals that the outwardly perfect Taylor family hides many secrets--the most pivotal being the strained and psychologically abusive relationship between tenure-track professor and father Charles (Dafoe) and his "different" son Michael (Reynolds). Michael's sister Ryne (Shannon Lucio) and aunt Jane (Watson) have also had difficult childhoods, but as an adult returning home for a family celebration, Michael carries a lot of psychological baggage from his childhood. When a sudden accident strips the dysfunctional family of one of its key members, each of them must come to terms with their relationships with one another. Their individual journeys of grief and acceptance are emotional, confusing, and sometimes unrealistic, but always heartfelt. In the end, each family member learns that life is a balancing act, perfection is a myth, and memories are selective. --Tami Horiuchi

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exploring the Sludge of a Dysfunctional Midwestern Family February 26, 2012
Format:DVD|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.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fireflies in the Garden January 31, 2012
[[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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MY GRADE: B plus to A minus. September 20, 2012
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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but at times confusing and at the end not that impactful
A little bit of an emotional movie, with a couple messages in the end. However I didn't find it to be all that impactful. Read more
Published 16 days ago by O. Zuyev
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
Great movie about the struggles of family trying to over come ghousts of the past. Very heart warming
Published 1 month ago by Rick
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable
Very good movie with fine performances all around. Will watch it again.
Published 1 month ago by Loren w Christensen
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Published 2 months ago by Robin S. Miller
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
disappointed in the movie
Published 3 months ago by Pat
4.0 out of 5 stars Fireflies
It was okay. It is hard getting used to, as, I am used to some other Julia Roberts movies.

Anne Stickles
Published 6 months ago by Anne Stickles
5.0 out of 5 stars Product: Excellent condition, Movie: Messed with my head.
The product was in excellent condition and arrived WAY sooner than I was expecting. The movie itself brought up some anxiety-ridden feelings. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Moneca
5.0 out of 5 stars Fireflies in the Garden-A MUST see!!
It was not the standard i have parent/child issues movie. The ending was not sweet and mushy. It was but yet I felt like something was accomplished.
Published 9 months ago by Lisa-Kay Caswell
4.0 out of 5 stars great movie
glad I wlll have this in my collection, I will watch it again I am sure and tell my friends because we collect movies.
Published 10 months ago by Katts
4.0 out of 5 stars Really good movie
My nephew Chase Ellison is in this movie. Our whole family enjoyed this movie.
Its a bit on the dark side, but over all a really good movie
Published 13 months ago by longhorngal
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