24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Struck a chord...,
This review is from: The Hanging Garden [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Everyone's family is crazy, right? Sweet William's family, in which everyone is named after a plant, might just leave you missing your own weird relatives. He's been gone for 10 years, lost a huge amount of weight, and transformed his life. Yet his family has stayed relatively unchanged and he feels himself falling back into the familiar patterns of fitting in with their dysfunction. There is his alzheimer-ridden granny in the attic whom everyone treats like a strange doll. His newly-wed sister, Rosemary, ascerbic but somehow endearing, and her groom, Fletcher, who has and has had an erotic obsession for William since childhood. There is the oddly masculine girl, Violet, blonde and potty-mouthed. Their father is an affectionate but abusive drunken gardener; their mother a bitter and and controlling woman on the edge of an emotional breakdown.
The film slips in and out of time, exploring the world that brought William to manhood: his memorization of plants and their harvesting times as a small child--where a mistake led to a slap, his first sexual exploration with Fletcher, his loss of virginity with a prostitute arranged by his mother, his grandmother's condemnation of his homosexuality, his own hatred of self.
Like a drumbeat throughout the movie is the question William answers by the end: "Why am I doing this to myself?" His acceptance of his family and the responsibility that being in a family brings gives the movie a tidy and serene closure.
I'd recommend this movie to anyone with siblings and skeletons in the closet. It is the sort of film that Canada tends to produce--a film that would not do well in American cinemas, but that thoughtful people will enjoy.