The Cement Garden cover

Review – The Cement Garden


The Cement Garden is a bit of a dark and disturbing movie. From a behaviorist point of view it probably needed to be made. If you are a writer who is contemplating one or more characters with “socially unacceptable” tendencies, then you need to watch this.

The Cement Garden story line

There is simply no good way to review The Cement Garden without mentioning a big piece of this movie has to do with a 15 year old brother’s infatuation with his 16 year old sister. The premise of the movie is the father has a heart attack and dies. Shortly after the mother takes ill and instructs the children to bury her in the basement and keep the house neat enough to avoid the kind of notice which would bring the authorities.

All of the children and their mother had heard stories of families being broken up and the lives kids had once sent to the current orphan system. Problem is that these kids had no direction in life. Their parents had opted for children late in life and were too old/unhealthy to really raise them. This results in two directionless teenagers who don’t clean house, do the dishes or pick up the trash taking care of what appears to be a 4-5 year old sibling. No need to imagine what the inside of the house looked like by the end.


I must say Charlotte Gainsbourg did an absolutely amazing job of acting in this film. Andrew Robertson did not do a bad job of playing a perpetually masterbating teenager either. The rest of the cast just seemed to be along for the ride.

Definitely not a movie for everyone, let alone the entire family. It does manage to weave in and out of cultural norms without being judgemental or forcing the audience to judge. The audience may choose to judge, but, the movie does not force them into this. A difficult task for any film branching into such subject matter.

This is not a movie to put on when you want a few laughs or simply wish to feel good. You need to have an open mind and to realize this was a really low budget flick. Honestly, it felt like it was “looking up at broke” as far as funding went.

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