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Actually, Greenfingers is that kind of movie--except for one tiny detail. Although set in England and inspired by real events there, and although it has a fine cast of English and one Irish actors, this gentle social comedy was written and directed by an American, Joel Hershman. But there's something off-kilter and a little leaden about Greenfingers, and one can't help but think it's because Hershman--who was born in Brooklyn and raised in Los Angeles--just cannot capture, try as he might, that sublimely silly sense of the ridiculous that is particularly, pecularly, English.
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Hershman was inspired to write Greenfingers when he read a New York Times article about the prize-winning gardens grown by a group of inmates at Her Majesty's Prison Leyhill, a minimum-security facility in England's Cotswolds. Since , Leyhill's gardening teams have been participating in Royal Horticultural Society garden shows at Chelsea and at Hampton Court, where they have won two gold medals. Interestingly, the Times piece used quotes from the leader of the team, a year-old convicted murderer who was, at the time, due for early parole.
In Greenfingers, Clive Owen Croupier plays the fictional thirty-something Colin Briggs, a convicted murderer who says he killed his own brother by accident in a fit of rage who's spending his last years of internment at the fictional Edgefield, an open prison in the Cotswolds a very open prison where afternoon tea and Christmas parties are among the amenities. Uncooperative and anti-social in the extreme, Colin refuses to participate in any of the rehabilitative work projects offered by the kindly warden Warren Clarke , and he even shuns his cheery and philosophical cell mate, Fergus, played by the elderly, gnome-like David Kelly.
However, when a lovely bunch of violets sprouts from the seeds Fergus had planted in the harsh soil of the prison grounds, Colin is impressed.
So is the warden, who decides to organize a gardening team. Colin and Fergus and two other 'lifers,' Tony Danny Dyer and Jimmy Paterson Joseph , are told to pick a plot of ground, come up with a list of gardening supplies and get to it. When he accidentally raises a patch of double-violets, the warden assigns him to cultivate a garden, with other prisoners as his assistants.
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Teaming up with his fellow inmates, Colin gets the attention of celebrated gardener Georgina Woodhouse. Soon, the unexpected gardeners are preparing to compete for the Hampton Court Flower Show. When Colin meets Georgina's beautiful daughter Primrose, he discovers another reason to fight for his freedom: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Not to be confused with the British drama film Green Fingers. The New York Times. Retrieved 13 June Retrieved 15 August