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by Peter Knegt
August 26, 2011 2:47 AM
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Julia Roberts and Ryan Reynolds' "Fireflies in the Garden" Finally Getting Released (UPDATED)

"Fireflies in the Garden."

How often does a film starring Julia Roberts and Ryan Reynolds sit on a shelf for three and half years? I guess about as often as one starring Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo and Anna Paquin.

Just a few weeks after Fox Searchlight finally gave Kenneth Lonergan's long-delayed "Margaret" (which stars Damon, Ruffalo and Paquin, among others) a release date September 30, it's been announced that "Fireflies in the Garden," Dennis Lee's star-studded directorial debut, will hit theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco on October 14th (followed by other cities).

The film was produced and financed by Senator Entertainment; its domestic distribution arm was, at one point, going to release it as well. But then it shut down in June 2009, making "Fireflies" homeless.

Now new, never-before-seen will be released independently by the filmmakers themselves.

“I am so pleased our film will finally get a theatrical release in the U.S.,” said Lee in a statement. “Anyone familiar with our story knows the road to this moment has been paved with challenges. It’s not lost on me how much care and determination it took to bring Fireflies to light. I am so grateful for all the support I’ve received.”

Starring Roberts, Reynolds, Willem Dafoe, Emily Watson and Hayden Panettiere, the film is described in the press release announcing its new release date as the following:

To an outsider, the Taylors are the very picture of the successful American family: Charles (Dafoe) is a tenured professor on track to become university president, son Michael (Reynolds) is a prolific and well-known romance novelist, daughter Ryne (Lucio) is poised to enter a prestigious law school, and on the day we are introduced to them, matriarch Lisa (Roberts) will graduate from college—decades after leaving to raise her children. But when a serious accident interrupts the celebration, the far more nuanced reality of this Midwestern family’s history and relationships come to light.

Unlike "Margaret," "Fireflies" has already screened. Way back in February 2008, it played at the Berlin International Film Festival, and indieWIRE was on hand. Unfortunately, our writer, Shane Danielsen, wished he weren't:

I DID see 'Fireflies In The Garden—and how I wish, now, that I had not. A leaden, painfully-earnest melodrama (call me cynical, but I sense an Autobiographical element), it’s the kind of film which deadens my faith in American cinema. From the first shot of a boy tearing headlong through a field of wheat—which, wouldn’t you know it, cuts across time to another boy, sprinting through the same field: plus ca change!—we were deep in Sundance territory: one of those films where the sins of the fathers are visited upon their sons, and every family gathering is freighted with simmering tensions—though none quite so complex that they can’t be neatly resolved in 100 or so minutes, amid handshakes and hugs and Lessons Learnt.

The film has also been theatrically released in dozens of countries, including Russia (July 2008), Germany (August 2008), Italy (September 2008), Brazil (October 2008), the UK (May 2009) and Spain (March 2010).

Some 44 months after it premiered in Berlin, it will do the same in America.

Check out the UK trailer for the film below:


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