Back in 2007 when Julia Roberts was tributed by the American Cinematheque, they screened a clip from her upcoming midwest family drama Fireflies in the Garden. The film debuted in 2008 at the Berlin Film Festival and was released around the world (Tomatometer: 28%). Four years later, finally, after the film was extricated from the financial quagmire of Senator Entertainment, a never-before-seen director’s cut of Fireflies will be self-distributed to stateside theaters in four major cities on October 14, with Roberts looking fresher than she has in years and Ryan Reynolds a much bigger star.
“I am so pleased our film will finally get a theatrical release in the U.S.,” said rookie writer-director Dennis Lee. “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.”
The title is inspired by the poem by Robert Frost, with UK and Sony Worldwide trailers below.
Lee, who won a student Academy Award for his short film Jesus Henry Christ, wrote and directed this semi-autobiographical story covering three generations of a family, inspired by the death of his mother in 2002. Roberts plays the wife of domineering professor Willem Dafoe; their family gathers to celebrate her long-postponed graduation from college, after raising kids Reynolds, a romance novelist, and law student Shannon Lucio. Hayden Panetierre and Emily Watson play Roberts’ younger sister and Carrie-Anne Moss is Reynolds’ ex-wife. A serious accident interrupts the party.
Here come real stars to fill the upper skies,
And here on earth come emulating flies,
That though they never equal stars in size,
(And they were never really stars at heart)
Achieve at times a very star-like start.
Only, of course, they can’t sustain the part.