Watch The Cement Garden
- 1 hr 41 min
The Cement Garden is a 1993 British drama film based on the novel of the same name by Ian McEwan. The movie takes place in an unnamed English city and tells the story of four children left alone in a family home after the death of their parents. The film opens with the father of the family, a sculptor, dying of a heart attack in his garden. Shortly thereafter, their mother also dies, leaving their four children - Jack, Julie, Sue, and Tom - to fend for themselves. The oldest sibling, Jack, becomes the head of the household, taking care of his younger siblings while the outside world slowly fades away.
As time passes, the children start to adapt to their new way of life. Jack, played by Andrew Robertson, slowly descends into depression as he takes on the role of the parental figure. He spends most of his time in his bedroom, reading books and ignoring the rest of the family. Charlotte Gainsbourg plays Julie, the only daughter and second oldest sibling. She takes on the role of the mother figure, cooking and caring for her siblings.
Sue and Tom, played by Alice Coulthard and Ned Birkin, respectively, are the youngest siblings. They spend most of their time playing games and exploring the abandoned train tracks near their home. As the film progresses, it becomes clear that the children are not living in a healthy environment. Their home is falling apart, with holes in the walls and ceilings, and the children become increasingly isolated from the outside world.
The plot thickens when Jack starts a sexual relationship with his sister, Julie. The relationship is incredibly taboo and disturbing but is established in the story to demonstrate the children's emotional attachment to one another when they lack adult guidance and their need for physical touch. They also try to replicate their previous family structure, symbolizing an innocent attempt to make sense of the world.
As their secret relationship progresses, the children's lives become more complicated when a friend of Jack's comes to stay with them. Derek, played by Jochen Horst, is a young man who is introduced to the family as Jack's friend from outside the home. However, his arrival brings a sense of danger to the already precarious situation. He quickly becomes infatuated with Julie, and the relationship between him and Jack becomes increasingly strained.
Throughout the film, the themes of sexuality, repression, and dysfunction are present. We see a family that was once normal and happy become increasingly disconnected from society until they are living in a self-imposed prison. The Cement Garden is a thought-provoking and dark film that explores the impact of grief and isolation on the human psyche.
Overall, the film is well-acted and beautifully shot. The story is dark and unsettling, but the performances of the young actors are impressive. The movie is not for everyone, but those who enjoy thought-provoking, introspective films will find it a fascinating and striking entry in the study of human nature.