7.2/10
4,142
29 user 23 critic

The Cement Garden (1993)

Not Rated | | Drama | 11 February 1994 (USA)
Four children try to hold things together and play a family in their isolated prefab house after the death of their parents. As they begin to deteriorate mentally, they hide their mom's festering corpse in a makeshift concrete sarcophagus.

Director:

Andrew Birkin

Writers:

Andrew Birkin, Ian McEwan (novel)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Daniel and Ana, brother and sister, best friends. Both are at pivotal, defining moments in their contented lives. Ana is about to be married, Daniel is a gregarious teenager discovering his... See full summary »

Director: Michel Franco
Stars: Dario Yazbek Bernal, Marimar Vega, José María Torre
Close My Eyes (1991)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

After some years of tension, Richard begins a sexual relationship with his sister Natalie, who is now married. The relationship between Richard and Natalie proves dangerously obsessional. ... See full summary »

Director: Stephen Poliakoff
Stars: Alan Rickman, Clive Owen, Saskia Reeves
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A writer, Ned Kendall, is asked to return to the family home by his sister Sally, to say goodbye to his father who is dying. The family home is in a very remote and isolated area. While ... See full summary »

Director: Rachel Ward
Stars: Ben Mendelsohn, Sophie Lowe, Maeve Dermody
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Guilherme and Sofia, brother and sister, grow up sharing experiences and slowly discovering their sexuality. The thing that Sofia doesn't know is how far Guilherme will go to keep her inside his own perverse, dark and perfect circle.

Director: Marco Martins
Stars: Rafael Morais, Joana de Verona, Daniel Duval
Geminis (2005)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A domineering mother with a seemingly perfect family in Argentina, is unaware of a taboo relationship happening with her youngest twin children.

Director: Albertina Carri
Stars: Cristina Banegas, Daniel Fanego, Maria Abadi
Torn Apart (2006)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

Two people are caught up in an all-consuming and forbidden love in this drama. Christine is married to Mario, a successful businessman, and is the mother of two children. However, she has a... See full summary »

Director: Jean Châteauvert
Stars: Jean-François Boisvenue, Manon Brunelle, Valérie Cantin
Blood (2004)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

After not having seen each other in five years, Chris Terry goes to visit his younger sister Noelle Terry in Montréal. Their lives, both together and apart, have been turbulent ones with ... See full summary »

Director: Jerry Ciccoritti
Stars: Emily Hampshire, Jacob Tierney
Drifters (2011)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

In this taboo drama, Mete must fight against his inappropriate attraction to his 17 year old half sister, who has just moved in to his flat in Rome. (Italian with English subtitles).

Director: Matteo Rovere
Stars: Andrea Bosca, Miriam Giovanelli, Claudio Santamaria
Ma Mère (2004)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

When his father dies, a young man is introduced by his attractive, amoral mother to a world of hedonism and depravity.

Director: Christophe Honoré
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Louis Garrel, Emma de Caunes
Alpine Fire (1985)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A year on an Alpine farm: an older couple have two children, Belli, who wanted to be a teacher, and the younger Franzi, deaf, and although he works like a man, child-like. Belli teaches him... See full summary »

Director: Fredi M. Murer
Stars: Thomas Nock, Johanna Lier, Dorothea Moritz
Illegitimate (2016)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Two siblings and an illegitimate love. A father who's a doctor and several accusations. A family in which no one ever drew a line between what's moral and what's legal. Not even when it comes to abortion.

Director: Adrian Sitaru
Stars: Adrian Titieni, Alina Grigore, Robi Urs
Shameless (2012)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A young man entertains an unhealthy desire for his older and unstable half-sister.

Director: Filip Marczewski
Stars: Mateusz Kosciukiewicz, Agnieszka Grochowska, Anna Próchniak
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Andrew Robertson ... Jack
Charlotte Gainsbourg ... Julie
Alice Coulthard ... Sue
Ned Birkin Ned Birkin ... Tom
Sinéad Cusack ... Mother
Hanns Zischler ... Father
Jochen Horst ... Derek, Julie's Friend
Gareth Brown Gareth Brown ... William
William Hootkins ... Commander Hunt (voice)
Dick Flockhart Dick Flockhart ... Truck Driver
Mike Clark Mike Clark ... Driver's Mate
Edit

Storyline

After the death of her husband, the mother of Julie, Jack, Sue and Tom begins to suffer from a mysterious illness. Aware that she is going to have to go into hospital she opens a bank account for the children, so that they can be financially self-sufficient and will be able to avoid being taken into care by the authorities. Unfortunately she also dies and Julie and Jack (the older, teenage children) decide to hide her body in the basement so that they can have free reign of their household. Soon Tom has taken to dressing as a girl whilst Sue has become increasingly reticent, confiding only to her diary, meanwhile Jack and Julie sense an attraction developing for each other. However Julie's new beau, Derek, threatens to unearth the many dark secrets within this family as he becomes increasingly suspicious of Jack. Written by Jagged-11

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Love knows no limits.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

France | Germany | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 February 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A cementkert See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$322,975
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The book that Sue gives Jack on his 16th birthday is entitled, "Voyage to Oblivion". See more »

Goofs

Tom makes a joke about one candle on Jack's birthday cake before the scene with the cake and the one candle. See more »

Quotes

Jack: Wonder if they're watching us now.
Tom: Who?
Jack: Mum and Dad. Think they're in Heaven?
Tom: Don't know about Dad but Mum's in the cellar.
Jack: What do you mean?
Tom: She's in the cellar under that big metal case and all that hard stuff.
See more »


Soundtracks

Me & J.C.
Composed by David Gilmour
© Pink Floyd Music Publishers Ltd.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
It's a family affair
12 November 1999 | by DeeNine-2See all my reviews

There's an almost heroic honesty to this urbanized, co-ed "Lord of the Flies"-ish love story. A square stone house serves as the isolated island while the jungle is the familiar setting of urban sprawl and other people. Director Andrew Birkin, in adapting Ian McEwan's novel (The Comfort of Strangers) to the screen, doesn't try to shock us. He just ignores our prejudices and lets fall away our preconceptions. What emerges is a sense of liberation from the usual hypocrisy.

The love story is an acting out of sister-brother incest, almost a celebration of it. "Seems natural to me" is what fifteen-year-old Jack (Andrew Robertson) says while in the naked embrace of his older sister Julie (Charlotte Gainsbourg). I could almost buy it, but I know of the "kibbutz effect" in which it was found that unrelated children growing up together virtually never married one another. If sister and brother grow up separately there can be sexual excitement between them, but if they grow up in the same household they tend to find each other sexually boring. Family members usually work out the sexual tension through play at an early age so that by the time they are sexually mature, they are looking elsewhere. That's how the incest taboo works. Its purpose is to channel the sexual drive outward, the better to mix the gene pool. For the individual, incest is not an attractive option socially or economically because it is so much better to increase one's family and influence by joining with someone from another tribe or band. If you marry your sister, you don't gain any brothers. Consequently the average person recoils at the mere suggestion of incest, and it is this mindless, knee jerk reaction that this film attacks.

Consider isolated families in the pre-history. What other reproductive choice would they have? Certainly it is better to reproduce in the hope that the next generation might find partners. This evolutionary wisdom is what is captured here. The sexual drive is seen as stronger than society's ephemeral prejudices, and rightly so since our genes must survive even when the society is stupid and self-destructive in its mores.

Birkin's direction lacks focus in the beginning and the editing seems brilliant and disjointed by turns, but Birkin eschews even the hint of a cliché and ends up with a slightly flawed, but engrossing, strikingly original work of cinematic art.

I'm disappointed that the sound track did not include the seventies Motown tune, "It's a Family Affair."

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)


24 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 29 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed