The Cement Garden

Director: Andrew Birkin
Year Released: 1993
Rating: 3.5

When the two parents in a British family - isolated from most of the world around them - unexpectedly die, leaving the three children to fend for themselves, their previous modes of living and behavior (not to mention their sense of security) gets destroyed, leaving them all vulnerable and uncomfortable with the feelings that remain. Chock Full O' Flaws - Birkin lays the symbolism on real heavy, and the picture is a tad meandering - but it is a lot superior to, say, Tim Roth's The War Zone, which takes similar characters and provides endless scenes of forced torment. It's saved by the earnestness and believability of the performers - most profoundly Charlotte Gainsbourg (Serge's daughter), who plays the oldest daughter. I couldn't help but be moved by her handling of a very difficult character - she becomes the 'mother figure' to her brother's 'troubled adolescent.'