Fireflies in the Garden (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

Fireflies in the Garden (2011)



Critic Consensus: Despite boasting a stellar cast, Fireflies in the Garden is just tedious, dull and predictable melodrama. Instantly forgettable.

Fireflies in the Garden Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

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. -- (C) Senatormore
Rating: R (for language and some sexual content)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Dennis Lee
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 7, 2012
Box Office: $36.9k
Senator Entertainment - Official Site


Emily Watson
as Jane Lawrence
Julia Roberts
as Lisa Taylor
Ryan Reynolds
as Michael Taylor
Willem Dafoe
as Charles Taylor
Carrie-Anne Moss
as Kelly Hanson
Hayden Panettiere
as Young Jane Lawrence
Cayden Boyd
as Young Michael Taylor
Frank Ertl
as Morgan Duncan
George Newbern
as Jimmy Lawrence
Chase Ellison
as Christopher Lawrence
Diane Perella
as Flight Attendant
Grady McCardell
as Officer 1
Natalie Karp
as Social Worker
Shannon Lucio
as Ryne Taylor
Brooklyn Proulx
as Leslie Lawrence
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Fireflies in the Garden

Critic Reviews for Fireflies in the Garden

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (16)

This histrionic family drama must have looked good on paper to attract such a big-name cast, but on the screen it comes off as glib, rushed, and underdeveloped.

Full Review… | October 20, 2011
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The emotional effectiveness varies from moment to moment between not pushing too hard or simply not pulling hard enough.

Full Review… | October 14, 2011
Top Critic

A dreadful exercise in navel-gazing that resides in a particularly trite corner of Pat Conroy-ville.

Full Review… | October 14, 2011
New York Daily News
Top Critic

A dispiriting rehash of dysfunctional family clichés that seems to last longer than Thanksgiving Day dinner.

Full Review… | October 14, 2011
New York Post
Top Critic

The actors are all good and a few scenes -- an opening family argument, a crucial battle when Michael finally fights back -- are painfully moving.

Full Review… | October 14, 2011
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

The relationships are lived-in and complex, with the same hopelessness that we find in real life. People don't change.

Full Review… | October 13, 2011
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Fireflies in the Garden

Great cast. Willem Dafoe, and Ryan Reynolds, really pulled this one off well....This is what "Tree of Life' could have been, had it not decided to be "cool & artsy!" This film was much more enjoyable. Even though it dealt with issues that most people find very disturbing, I think that it was handled very well. Not a "feel good" movie by any means.....

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

Cast: Julia Roberts, Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe, Emily Watson, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hayden Panettiere, Ioan Gruffudd, Shannon Lucio, Cayden Boyd, George Newbern, Chase Ellison

Director: Dennis Lee

Summary: In the wake of an unexpected family tragedy, novelist Michael Taylor (Ryan Reynolds) is forced to confront his fractured relationship with his father (Willem Dafoe) while dealing with painful memories of his mother (Julia Roberts), a woman who moved mountains to protect him. Emily Watson, Hayden Panettiere, Ioan Gruffudd and Carrie-Anne Moss also star in this semiautobiographical tale of rage and redemption from writer-director Dennis Lee.

My Thoughts: "I loved this movie. The cast is amazing right down to the young children acting in it. Great performances by them all. The story goes back and forth from past to present and really does a great job at putting you in this emotional, dark, tragic story. Willem Dafoe was brilliant at playing the father. It has to be his best performance in a movie that I have seen him in. It's a beautifully made film. I am a big fan of Ryan Reynolds, he is a talented actor with the gift for being able to pull off any genre. Julia Roberts is another one of those actor's. She was great in this as was Carry Moss and Emily Watson. See it if you get the chance."


Super Reviewer


Better than I would expect from something starring Julia Roberts. Not high on my list to watch, but I am glad I did. Similar in tone to "The Squid and the whale", this follows a dysfunctional family and goes back and forth in time, mainly sticking with Michael, (Ryan Reynolds), who is now a romance novel author and slightly dour. When his parents are involved in a car crash and his mother, (Julia Roberts) dies and his father, (Willem Dafoe) is injured, he barely seems to show emotion. As the movie goes on and we see what his childhood was actually like at the hands of his father, we start to understand why. There is nothing overly shocking here, more mental abuse than anything, and it did seem like there could have been a little more to this movie, but on the whole it was good and very well cast. Willem Dafoe in particular, I found creepy here, though that could just be his face! I did not recognise Hayden Panettiere as the younger Jane, (his teenage aunt), but she was very good also. Also Emily Watson and Shannon Lucio. I did not really like Carrie Anne Moss as Kelly, but then I never do like her as an actress especially.

Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

Fireflies in the Garden Quotes

– Submitted by Frances H (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Chris P (4 years ago)
– Submitted by Chris P (4 years ago)

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