The Hanging Garden
Spring 2003 Edge series
Sunday, April 6, 2003 at 7:00pm
Empire Theatres, New Minas, NS
Rated 14A ·
Strip away the thin layer of narrative structure in The Hanging Garden – a young man returns home after a ten-year absence to attend his sister’s wedding – and you find filmmaker Thom Fitzgerald’s incisive and often chilling account of family life. Fitzgerald’s protagonist is William (Chris Leavins), a gay man who has left his family’s seaside home to live in the city. The film is partly devoted to William’s teenage sexual awakening, but it’s also about his dysfunctional family. In the opening scenes, during the course of the wedding reception, William’s father Mac (Peter MacNeill), drinking heavily, picks a fight with another family member. William’s mother Iris (Seanna McKenna), with an air of resignation, waits for Mac to pass out and then puts him to bed. Shortly after the wedding ceremony, William’s new brother-in-law Fletcher (Joel S. Keller) flirts with him, and his sister Rosemary (Kerry Fox) doesn’t discourage it. We later learn that Rosemary’s husband was William’s first lover. In a few quick shots, Fitzgerald deftly introduces the family’s neuroses, and explains the reason for William’s long absence. This is Fitzgerald’s first feature film and has performances by Ashley MacIsaacs and Sarah Polly.