A great story is timeless and as resonant in the present as it was at the time it was written. Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1911 children’s novel The Secret Garden is one of these. A timeless classic with themes that resonate today as well as they did in 1911.
There have been quite a few adaptations of this story over the years, with four film versions being made before this one and at least that many television serials and specials, most of which in the last 30 years. Adapting a classic, it seems, still requires that something new is offered the viewer. What then, after so many visits to this garden, does this new version have to offer? Well, it’s really, really pretty. Unfortunately, not much else.
In 1993 three young boys went missing and were later found murdered. A short time later three teenagers were arrested and charged for the murders after one of the teens, a kid with an IQ of 72, confessed that they had killed the three boys after twelve hours of interrogation with no parents of lawyers present.
The teens were tried with the prosecution asserting that the killings were part of a satanic ritual and the teens were found guilty despite evidence they may not have been involved and a potential alternate suspect who was not pursued.
This is exactly the type of difficult subject matter that Canadian film maker Atom Egoyan excels at making.