The Fletcher family has become a dysfunctional mess now that the mother, Debra (Tanya Guelck), is raising the children alone. Oldest daughter Christy (Cassaundra Sloan) is rebelling, and has taken to cutting herself. Son Jordan (Zach Parsons) is developmentally disabled, with health problems that are a daily challenge. Youngest daughter Julie (Lauryn Hall) is just annoyed by everyone else. As if things couldn’t get worse at home, Debra, while arguing with her children while driving the car, hits a homeless man.
The man, George (Derek Lackenbauer), was not a simple victim, however. Having lived a long life, George wants to die. He survives the accident, however, and is taken into the Fletcher household, where he reluctantly finds himself unable to stay out of the family’s business, offering up a wise word or two when the moment requires. His presence causes healing for the family, even as his fantastical past and secrets are revealed. See, George isn’t like any other person, nor is the red guitar he carries like any other guitar out there.
Adrian L.M. Konstant’s I Was A Greenhouse fuses a mysterious, supernatural theme with a story of familial tragedy, healing and redemption. The trials and tribulations of the Fletchers are not all that strange or uncommon, but George’s personal suffering is. He’s a man with a wondrous gift that has come at a tragic price.
It is these more mysterious and mystical aspects of the story that elevate it beyond the common. Without George’s unique history and instrument, this would be a film that gets lost in the flood of films about dysfunctional families in need of healing. It is enough of a spin on the familiar to keep you interested, even if you don’t care about any of the characters.
Which can happen; a disconnect between audience and character. Mainly because there are more than a few moments where the film gets extremely melodramatic, and the acting tends to skew towards over-the-top. In these moments, you can start to pull back from the film a little bit. Then again, considering so many characters are practically just exposed, raw nerves, it sometimes is appropriate.
Sometimes the more supernatural components of the narrative can undermine the growth and healing that occurs when they’re not involved. Smartly, the filmmakers allow for much of the drama to be dealt with naturally, without mystical interference; this allows for the narrative to work predominantly in a more reasonable way for the audience, with only a select few moments that require the film to reveal all its secrets. But when those secrets are revealed, you can predict the forced moments of the narrative to come.
All told, though, the film comes together nicely. The universal elements of a broken family trying to pick up the pieces, and likewise George overcoming his own tragic history, are where the film scores its emotional points. The rest of the narrative works because of the audience’s curiosity and suspension of disbelief.
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