The Hanging Garden (film)

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The Hanging Garden
The Hanging Garden movie poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed byThom Fitzgerald
Produced byThom Fitzgerald
Louise Garfield
Arnie Gelbart
Written byThom Fitzgerald
StarringChris Leavins
Troy Veinotte
Sarah Polley
Peter MacNeill
Seana McKenna
Music byJohn Roby
CinematographyDaniel Jobin
Edited bySusan Shanks
Distributed byAlliance Communications (Canada)
Momentum Pictures (United Kingdom)
Release date
Running time
91 minutes
Budget$1,500,000 CAD

The Hanging Garden is a 1997 British/Canadian film written and directed by Thom Fitzgerald that is about the duality of life and death and the way seemingly very different choices in life can lead to similar outcomes. The film was shot in Nova Scotia.[1]


25-year-old Sweet William (Chris Leavins) returns to his parents' house in rural Nova Scotia after ten years of absence to attend the wedding of his sister Rosemary (Kerry Fox). It is revealed that he is gay and in the closet. He was an obese teenager (played by Troy Veinotte), who was caught having sex with his closeted bisexual friend Fletcher (Joel Keller) in the garden by his senile grandmother Grace when he was 15; Rosemary is marrying Fletcher.

As a consequence of the ensuing rejection, particularly by his alcoholic father (Peter MacNeill), Sweet William had the choice of either running away to live in a big city far away from the family or end his life by hanging himself from a tree in the garden.

In the movie, both the alive, now slender and self-assured Sweet William and the obese, suffocated teenage Sweet William, hanging as a fresh corpse in the garden, are present and interacting. In the version of reality where Sweet William dies, his family members cannot shed their memories of his death and carry on with their lives, whereas in the other version Sweet William is haunted by memories of his father's bouts of violence and is unable to reconcile with him.

As well, a new family member, Violet (Christine Dunsworth) is subsequently revealed to have been fathered by Sweet William, from an incident when Sweet William's mother (Seana McKenna) took him to a prostitute in an attempt to "cure" his homosexuality.

The cast also includes Sarah Polley, Joan Orenstein, Heather Rankin and a cameo appearance by Ashley MacIsaac.




A soundtrack album was released in 1997 on Virgin Music Canada.

  1. Ani DiFranco, "The Million You Never Made"
  2. Ashley MacIsaac, "Ashley's Reels"
  3. Mae Moore, "Deep Water"
  4. Spirit of the West, "Kiss and Tell"
  5. Jane Siberry, "When Spring Comes"
  6. Holly Cole, "Petals in a Stream"
  7. The Rankin Family, "Sir James Baird"
  8. Meryn Cadell and Mary Margaret O'Hara, "Wash Down"
  9. Mary Jane Lamond, "Ba Ba Mo Leanabh"
  10. Lori Yates, "The Future is Here"
  11. Deb Montgomery, "The Tale"
  12. Aether, "Half Light"
  13. Laurel MacDonald, "Oran na h'eala"
  14. John Roby, "Theme from The Hanging Garden"
  15. Leahy, "Colm Quigley"
  16. Wyrd Sisters, "If it Ain't Here"


  1. ^ "The Hanging Garden - The Canadian Encyclopedia". Archived from the original on 2013-06-04. Retrieved 2013-01-04.
  2. ^ a b "Hanging Garden wins two awards". The Globe and Mail, September 15, 1997.

External links[edit]