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The Cement Garden

33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Directed by Andrew Birkin. Starring Charlotte Gainsbourg. Based on the 1978 novel.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Andrew Robertson, Alice Coulthard, Ned Birkin, Sinéad Cusack
  • Directors: Andrew Birkin
  • Writers: Andrew Birkin, Ian McEwan
  • Producers: Bee Gilbert, Bernd Eichinger, Ene Vanaveski, Martin Moszkowicz, Stephen O'Rourke
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: New Yorker Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 8, 2000
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1567301789
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,834 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Cement Garden" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Sondra Rosenberg on January 13, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
With "The Cement Garden," Andrew Birkin has created a spare, atmospheric and erotic cinematic adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel of the same name. This tale of grieving and incest is artfully shot and strangely compelling. A fateful attraction develops between Jack and Julie, the oldests of four siblings, following the death of their father and shortly thereafter of their mother. For fear that their younger brother and sister will have to go to an orphanage (in much the same vein as Jacques Fansten's "Cross My Heart"), the two bury their mother's body in a vat of cement in the cellar and proceed to take on their parents roles. While Sue, the youngest sister, deals with her pain through writing, and Tom (the younger brother, played by the director's son) begins dressing in girl's clothing, the tension between Jack and Julie builds toward an inevitable and highly anticipated climax. The film is slow-moving but hypnotic, and masterful in its poetic use of landscape. A few semi-significant inconsistencies aside, "The Cement Garden" succeeds in immersing you in its world. I especially enjoyed Charlotte Gainsbourg's performance as Julie.
I would give it 4 and 1/2 stars if I could.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 11, 2002
Format: DVD
I enjoyed the quality of the european acting.
I enjoyed the authentic scenery and the enviroment chosen for this film.
The the protagaonist is the oldest boy, well played and somewhat convincing in his pursuits.
Julie(Charlotte Gainsbourg), the oldest girl, role is done well and is very attractive, as necessary for this role.
The sibling conversations are authentic, reminding me of conversations I had with my large family.
The movie is shocking and tries hard to challenge what is left of social taboos.
What led me to watch this movie was hearing the voice of Gainsbourg, as Julie, respond to the oldest boy concerning knowing "what it feels like for a girl", in the title song of Madonna's current release.
This movie is not for the faint of heart.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Sponge Bob Square Pants on January 24, 2004
Format: DVD
The DVD version was transferred from a tape rather than from a film print; tell by the image quality. There isn't much behind the scene stuff either besides a few slides of texts.
Still, I gave a 5 stars rating because not many films can pull off controversial topics like "The Cement Garden." I bought the DVD because I loved the film so, and that's all it matters.
For art film lovers, it might be worth collecting.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 24, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
I saw this movie in a small independent movie house about 5 years ago, and I've thought of it often ever since. Memorable camera work and sense of place. Disturbing yet compelling.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By L. Massaar on September 13, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It's a small wonder that this film was ever made, given the controverial nature of the original book. If you've read the book by McEwan, you'll appreciate how faithfully they have stuck to the story. I won't give it away or re-tell what's available elsewhere, but this film is a superbly acted version (by a very young cast) of a grim story (incest, death, family secrets) that is interesting to contemplate.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By bornjaded on June 26, 2005
Format: DVD
Reviewing the DVD and not the movie here, New Yorker's edition of 'The Cement Garden' is enough to make you gag. Pan-and-scan (that's right, cropped), dark, muddy, low-resolution, flat audio, and so forth. Why bother putting this stuff on DVD if you're just going to give your buyers VHS-quality? This sort of business ethic is lazy, cynical, deceptive, and cheap.
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Linda D Pilarski on June 13, 2000
Format: DVD
The Cement Garden was different from any other movie I've ever seen. The courageousness of the brothers and sisters was inspiring, and I can understand why the oldest brother and sister did what they did. They had only each other to lean on, not to mention the responsibility of taking care of two younger siblings. What would a family do under such circumstances? It is hard to understand,but you had to feel compassion, because after all, they now had to take on the role of parents and providers. Some may find this film offensive, but I would say to them, Keep an open mind.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gilbert J. Hardwick on March 17, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The steadily unabashed, unapologetic tone of this masterpiece makes for compelling viewing. Aside from the tenderly erotic sequences by which it carries off its unrelenting critique of the real world 'out there', with all its double standards and hypocrisies, the spell is woven with depth and panache. The difficulty for the viewer lies in assigning its unrelenting sensuality to mere incest; Andrew Birkin's interpretation of Ian McEwan is superb and very much to the point.
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