The Hanging Garden
Ten years after he disappeared from his family's life, Sweet William (Chris Leavins) returns home to Nova Scotia for his sister's wedding. Despite the fact that he's gone from a morbidly obese adolescent to a thin, handsome, self-assured young man, the reunion proves bittersweet. Although he reconnects with his loving sister Rosemary (Kerry Fox) and his Alzheimer's-afflicted grandmother Grace (Joan Orenstein), he is dismayed to learn that his parents' rocky marriage has settled into permanent animosity. He also witnesses the toll his absence has taken on his abusive, alcoholic father, Whiskey Mack (Peter MacNeill); his tight-lipped mother Iris (Seana McKenna); and Violet (Christine Dunsworth), the tomboyish younger sister he's never met. The past lingers in the very air of William's childhood home; disturbing visions of himself as both a waifish boy (Ian Parsons) and a fat adolescent (Troy Veinotte) follow him everywhere. And it's not just the ghosts who dredge up the past. Rosemary's new husband, Fletcher (Joel S. Keller), flirts shamelessly with William, bringing back memories of the painful relationship the two shared as teenagers. When Iris disappears, William must confront not only the haunting visions of his past, but also the unfinished business he left behind. The feature debut of writer/director Thom Fitzgerald, The Hanging Garden was the winner of the Air Canada People's Choice Award for best picture and the co-winner of the Toronto-CITY TV Award for Best Canadian Film at the Toronto International Film Festival.