The Hanging Garden

THE HANGING GARDEN. 1998

Director: Thom Fitzgerald

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



A serious drama, & a supernatural tale of sadness & cruelty, a large stretch of The Hanging Garden has the ghost of a hanging victim hanging plainly in the garden. For much of the film I thought the weird bits were hallucinations of the protagonist, until it became clear everyone could see the ghost.

Strange upon strange, the dead fat kid grew up to be a skinny faggot who returned to the family house & garden for his sister's wedding. The contradiction of his having hung himself as a kid & haunting the garden thereafter, vs running away to the city for ten years then coming back a changed man, makes for a magic realist event never really possible to collate with reality.

I loved the mystery of it, but this backdrop isn't the focus. The focus is characterization. Just about everyone in the story is a bad person, & at the same time a good person. They're very complex, with an ineffible sadness hovering over everything.

The worst human being (the abusive drunken husband & father) is probably the saddest of an unhappy lot, & no one is in the end wholly a villain or a hero.

It would've been a rich tale without the supernatural element, but the haunting adds a level of psychological depth & eeriness that makes this a first-rate art film. Hard-core horror fans may or may not like it despite that it is not the least horrific, but lovers either of good drama or of good ghost stories certainly will welcome this film.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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