Fireflies in the Garden
A closely observed exploration of the complexities of love and commitment in a family torn apart when faced with an unexpected tragedy, Fireflies in the Garden marks the feature directorial debut of Dennis Lee from a screenplay he wrote. Lee, a student Academy Award winner for his short film, Jesus Henry Christ, was inspired to write this semi-autobiographical family drama after his mother’s death in 2002.
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.