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The Hanging Garden (film)

The Hanging Garden
Promotional poster
Directed by Thom Fitzgerald
Produced by Thom Fitzgerald
Louise Garfield
Arnie Gelbart
Written by Thom Fitzgerald
Starring Chris Leavins
Troy Veinotte
Sarah Polley
Peter MacNeill
Seana McKenna
Music by John Roby
Cinematography Daniel Jobin
Edited by Susan Shanks
Distributed by Alliance Releasing
Release dates
Running time
91 minutes
Language English
Budget $1,500,000 CAD

The Hanging Garden is a 1997 British/Canadian movie 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]


  • Plot 1
  • Awards 2
  • Soundtrack 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


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 was once a gay, obese teenager (played by Troy Veinotte), who was caught having sex with his bisexual friend Fletcher (Joel Keller) in the garden by his grandmother when he was 15; Rosemary is marrying Fletcher.

As a consequence of the ensuing rejection, particularly by his 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 misbehavior 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.


  • Genie Award (win) - Thom Fitzgerald, Best Screenplay, The Hanging Garden
  • Genie Award (win) - Seana McKenna, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, The Hanging Garden
  • Genie Award (win) - Peter MacNeill, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, The Hanging Garden
  • Genie Award (nom) - T. Fitzgerald, L. Garfield, A. Gelbart, Best Motion Picture, The Hanging Garden
  • Genie Award (nom) - Joan Orenstein, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, The Hanging Garden
  • Genie Award (nom) - Kerry Fox, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, The Hanging Garden
  • Genie Award (nom) - Thom Fitzgerald, Best Achievement in Direction, The Hanging Garden
  • Genie Award (nom) - James A. Worthen, Best Achievement in Costume Design, The Hanging Garden
  • Genie Award (nom) - Taavo Soodor, Darlene Shiels, Best Achievement in Art Direction, The Hanging Garden
  • Genie Award (nom) - Susan Shanks, Best Achievement in Film Editing, The Hanging Garden
  • Genie Award (nom) - Peter Harper, Phillipe Espantoso, George Hannan, Best Sound, The Hanging Garden
  • Sudbury Cinefest Best Canadian Film Award - Thom Fitzgerald, The Hanging Garden


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

External links

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