the only thing more false in "Fireflies in the Garden" than its flaccid melodrama is its clichéd emotional redemption.
| Original Score: D
There's a sense of emotional paralysis about Dennis Lee's Fireflies in the Garden.
It's a tragedy, in all of the wrong ways.
| Original Score: 1/5
Despite an A-list roster, the performances are universally one-note, a fact largely attributable to a script overflowing with blunt dialogue and heavy-handed symbolism.
They stagger down memory lane for a little bloodletting, inspect skeletons in the cupboard and invariably end up bathing together in a hot tub of sentimental forgiveness and understanding.
A watchable but ultimately blah family drama.
| Original Score: 3/5
We're in the twilight land of the sensitive indie ensemble piece, something American stars gravitate to for reasons of range and prestige, but which ends up being more cathartic for them than for us.
| Original Score: 2/5
It's not a bad film - Lee directs with subtle grace and the cast is predictably strong - but it's saddled with too many characters, not enough drama and a strong sense of overfamiliarity.
| Original Score: 2/6
This is a slog of a melodrama. And with at least four sob stories competing for space, characters are left dangling like untied shoelaces, as backstories remain unfertilised.
Julia Roberts, Willem Dafoe and Emily Watson are strictly slumming it in this saccharine melodrama.
A sickly sweet family drama stuffed with exceptionally high-profile performers - so much so that they threaten to overwhelm it just by their presence.
A heavy, entertaining but slightly forgettable family drama.
| Original Score: 2/5
The entire experience feels like it is leading up to a dramatic and well-needed climax, but sadly this never materialises and what we're left with is a run-of-the-mill yarn, albeit one with a stellar cast.
It may be both both melancholy and intense but it packs an emotional jolt as the prodigal son reaches an understanding - if not a full-blown reunion - with his crotchety old man.
An impressive ensemble lends heft and humour to this sprawling potboiler. Watchable if never truly memorable, it's a mid-range work for most involved that still affords the odd guilty pleasure.
A sheer slog to sit through, Fireflies In The Garden might have worked if it wasn't so damn po-faced and the script actually had something to say about how families work.
The elements are all there but never fully click into place - more like a TV movie than a big-screen drama.
A thoughtful tale but it is not original enough to provide a long-lasting glow.
Consistently watchable and sometimes rather moving, although it is a rather slighter piece than the film-makers seem to think.
An agonisingly sincere drama of familial dysfunction, this is notable for some very basic miscasting.