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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on 31 January 2001
This is a beautifully crafted directorial debut by the cinematographer who photographed "La Reine Margot". The story builds slowly but steadily with intriguing performances from Ewan McGregor and Carmen Chaplin. If taken at face value, the film may not be what many may expect but then that is the premise of the story itself, in that, not all the characters are what they seem either. Using the construction of the garden as a metaphor for the various conflicts that become apparent as the storyline develops, the director never opts to spell things out for the audience in black-and-white but perhaps not surprisingly, allows the visuals to tell the story. A totally satisfying experience if you like your films to breathe.
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on 12 January 2001
An uneven attempt to bring romanticism of 18th century costume drama in line with modern desire under the elm make this film a boring venture. Despite strong casting that features Ewan McGregor, Greta Scacchi, Richard E. Grant, and Pete Postelwaite, the story rambles and is at times incoherent. The story centers on the construction of a formal garden to mark the arrival of a businessman (Postlewaite) and his wife (Scacchi) to the local gentry class is marred by the arrival of the woman's lecherous cousin (Grant). Grant's presence is ominous and clearly an annoyance to landscape architect, Meneer Chrome (McGregor), whose own distraction by the couple's daughter is more than an obstacle to completion of his assignment. A lot of heaving bosoms by mother and daughter offer some distraction and foreshadow the ending. Unintentional comedic timing by McGregor make his character's statement "Garden design has made some progress since the Italian Rennaisance and their water games." an unfortunate commentary on the film. The entire production sinks under the weight of poor direction and wigs. This is a disappointment despite all good intentions by an excellent cast of actors.
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on 1 February 2014
As a fan of Ewan McGregor, I thought I would buy this DVD as I had not seen or heard of it before, however sadly I did find it a bit slow and at times boring, very seldom have I been checking the clock to see how much longer the film will be, the last piece of the film is the best. May be if I watch it a few times it will get better, but sadly not one of his best films.
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on 16 March 2003
This story is about a young, Dutch landscaper, Meaner Chrome (Ewan McGregor), who plans to create an extravagant garden for Thomas Smithers and his wife (Pete Postlethwaite and Greta Scacchi). His real plan or the real motive of this garden is to bankrupt Smithers so the not-so nice James Fitzmaurice (Richard E. Grant) can seduce Smithers wife. But Chrome begins having second thoughts about completing the plan, after he becomes fascinated by Smithers daughter Theca (Carmen Chaplin). I think people who have criticized this movie are far too harsh. I found it to have an excellent story with a talented cast. The performance that I felt most touched by was Carmen Chaplin's. Her struggle to find disorder in a world that wants to have order is an interesting element to the story. What I didn't like was the movie's pacing. I felt the message the movie was conveying that you couldn't control nature. I think this theme would have been better expressed in a short story or a short movie, not a feature length film. A part from that, I can sit through the hour and fifty minutes and feel glad that I saw this movie.
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on 3 June 2015
Wonderful, poetic tale. I have seen it a dozen times and I keep noticing new connections. The description on the back cover, however, is not very accurate about spirit of the content, and I think family rating 15 is quite high.
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on 25 January 2013
all the cast are superb. Richard E. Grant as the foppish, slimy, degenerate,incestuous, avaricious, nasty villain of the piece is excellent. Greta Scacchi also plays her role with splender along with the late Pete Postlethwaite as the gulliable good hearted owner of the garden in question. wonderfully scripted and filmed it is a sheer joy to watch.
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on 29 May 2010
A little disappointed as the description and cast list suggested something brilliant. The costumes are stunning as is the setting of the house and garden. I began to lose interest though when the garden was created, with hige stone walls which were then blown down in a mysterious hurricane. They looked decidedly made of cardboard and it was difficult to take the film seriously from then on. It did redeem itself though due in no small part to Richard E. Grant's dramatic poisoning, by his own poison, which he had planned for Ewan McGregor's character. It was a relief when Ewan McGregor dropped the fake Dutch accent and the film ended happily with the tortured daughter being saved by McGregor and the pair going off together.
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on 14 December 2010
If you enjoy trite, pretentious, pointless would-be allegory, this is right up there.
In a badly faked "garden" in the Islamabad public convenience style, but a mockup, a cannon foundry owner with his feet on the ground is taken in by a cousin of the wife (Scacchi)and left ruined but happily holding her hand. Scacchi can render a monk engorged, but not this time. Alas. The Coca Cola Kid was a masterpiece and stiil worthy of a 15 and over. Why this gardening epic with its out of period hints at a quickie in the hothouse {don't move, you'll put the candles out)should be rated 15 escaped me. The lubricious daughter might have been used to better effect than being cupped and leeched by nuns and a mountebank chirugeon. As one whose hot dream was Ingrid Bergman until Scacchi came along, I beg Greta "give us a feisty one fot the road, dear Greta, before descending into the faux period drama scene. All that was missing ws manure, but the script filled the bill.The horses were wonderful.
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on 27 June 2014
Quality not sharp. A shame.
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on 6 April 2015
Did not like this dvd.
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