Gardens of the Night

Watch Gardens of the Night

  • R
  • 2008
  • 1 hr 50 min
  • 6.8  (4,642)
  • 43

Gardens of the Night is a heart-wrenching drama film released in 2008, directed by Damian Harris, and featuring an ensemble cast, including Gillian Jacobs, John Malkovich, and Ryan Simpkins. The movie is about two young girls, kidnapped and sold into sex trafficking and their subsequent struggles. Leslie, played by Ryan Simpkins, and Donnie, played by Jermaine Crawford, are two young kids living in a low-income neighborhood. The movie begins with Leslie and her brother Donnie loitering in a mall’s parking lot. They cross paths with Alex (Tom Arnold) and Frank (Kevin Zegers), who offer them candy and promise them a ride home. The kids willingly get into the car and, to their horror, find themselves suddenly strangers in a strange land.

Alex and Frank trick the children, kidnap them, and take them to an undisclosed location where they sell them for money to a child prostitution ring. Leslie soon finds herself at the mercy of a predator, Alex (John Malkovich), who is charming and manipulative.

The story moves between Leslie's years in captivity and years after her escape, gradually piecing together the tragedy of her life. While in captivity, Leslie develops a bond with Donnie, which helps to keep them both alive. Although Alex's promises of a better life and future were lies, Leslie maintained the hope of escape alive. The film shows the vicious cycle of human trafficking, where the children become disposable items, treated as a commodity. The movie paints a gruesome picture of the inner workings of human trafficking and highlights the struggles that victims face long after their imprisonment has ended.

After Leslie manages to escape the cell, the film jumps forward to her teenage years. Leslie is now living with Mariana (Gillian Jacobs), who is a survivor of sexual abuse herself. Leslie is trying to process her traumatic experiences and reclaim her life with the help of Mariana. The film explores these difficult themes, especially how childhood trauma can continue to impact someone even after such traumatic Chapter is over. Gardens of the Night shows Leslie's experiences in a respectful, balanced, and thought-provoking way, leaving a lasting impression.

The performances in Gardens of the Night are impressive throughout. Ryan Simpkins evokes an aura of resilience in her portrayal of Leslie, glimpses of which can be seen even amidst her trauma. Mariana's character is played by Gillian Jacobs, who brings an aura of hope and positivity to the screen. John Malkovich portrays his manipulative character, Alex, with ease - his performance is chilling, leaving the viewers physical discomfort.

Overall, Gardens of the Night is a haunting and powerful journey through the depths of human trafficking. It provides a sobering view of the harrowing experiences that young girls face throughout their captivity, and it highlights the importance of survivor support services. The film advocates for the protection of the human rights of children and the need for adults to be vigilant in their decision making. It highlights the need to be aware and to participate in the fight to end human trafficking. Ultimately, Gardens of the Night is a compelling visual narrative of human resilience in the face of horrific trauma.

In conclusion, Gardens of the Night is a movie that will leave a lasting impression on any viewer who watches it. It highlights the need for us to be more aware of the dangers that lurk around us and to act accordingly. It is a call to action to raise close attention to child protection and to end human trafficking, emphasizing that we all have a significant role to play in the fight against this crime. It is a heart-wrenching portrayal that is both thought-provoking and inspirational, ultimately serving as a reminder of the pervasive horrors that exist around us.

Gardens of the Night is a 2008 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 50 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8 and a MetaScore of 43.

Gardens of the Night
Where to Watch Gardens of the Night
Gardens of the Night is available to watch free on Peacock and The Roku Channel Free. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and YouTube VOD. Some platforms allow you to rent Gardens of the Night for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 50 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.8  (4,642)
  • Metascore