This was a very fun film that got several huge laughs from the audience (poor Bethany).
Very cheeky use of the mandatory line. It almost slipped by me and I thought 'oh no, they got it wrong!' Took me a moment to realise what they'd done.
A troubled woman makes increasingly desperate attempts to gain entry to the titular "Hopeful Gardens", a religious commune/cult with a well-chosen name that pretty much does the exposition heavy-lifting for you. I was never quite sure why she wanted to get in there - a scene early on with her young son almost suggested something, but then he was written out when he went off to his dad - but the journey was mostly entertaining nonetheless.
Black Comedy is an interesting beast of a genre, and I imagine quite a hard one to figure out how to tackle. This piece clearly has religious topics centrally in its sights, but it also dabbles in other vaguely taboo matters, such as parenting, suicide and #ponytailgate. There were some enjoyable moments of comedy throughout the film, especially of the visual variety - the sequence of getting kicked out of HG repeatedly, literally head-over-heels on many occasions, was entertaining, and I especially enjoyed the small puddle that a passing car converted to a couple of buckets worth of water to douse our protagonist. On a couple of occasions I felt that there was a comic set-up which didn't get a proper payoff - that kicking-out montage for instance, I craved a break in the routine or some other kind of unexpected physicality at the end. Similarly, the ending sequence under the credits seemed to promise a visual punchline that never arrived (actually, I suppose the comedy death-face at the end was a kind of punchline, but it was a bit 'soft' for the time it took to get there).
Overall, I found myself frustrated by the lack of a clear sense of motivation for Bethany, because since I wasn't clear what she wanted or was trying to achieve, it was hard to care about what happened (it also probably didn't help that her story felt more stopped than resolved at the end). But those quibbles aside, I enjoyed the performance of the main actress a lot, and the plausibly wholesome/creepy scenes in the cult-y Hopeful Gardens were handled well (and a nicely effortless incorporation of the bread, too).
Pretty good film, had some strange moments but I quite enjoyed the shots of the actress being kicked out of the gardens
This was a great 'black comedy' with the right amount of outright laughs and cringeworthy moments. Lovely topical touches such as the ponytail lineup - which was very well received by the audience. It had serious undertones - which is bang on the genre, in my opinion. Well done!
What I liked: This was a good black comedy that understood the genre, great performances, production design and location. it also had several laugh out loud moments,
Gags like the car splashing the character with a bucket of water and the pony tail pulling were very funny
I wasn't entirely clear on the main characters reason or wanting to get into the cult though.
Pretty much the other reviewers have said it all, aside from the Star Wars homage at the gates. The sermon was pretty good, very... Masonic. Good attention to detail esp. with the costume changes. That must have taken a bit of effort, as the sun slowly crept across the sky!
All in all, a good stab at the genre. Needed to be clearer on the treatment as we were left a bit confused.
While this team did pretty well with the genre and managed some nice touches of humour, I felt this film lacked a bit of pace and should have been wrapped up sooner. Pacing certainly wasn't helped by some of the long takes in the garden during the sermon, and the whole shot selection here was rather repetitive. The "getting kicked out" montage worked pretty well but it sounded like she was being thrown on to mat! I too wondered why her son just disappeared from the story with little concern on her part and if, on so many occasions, she had little difficulty getting into Hopeful Gardens, why did the locked gate stump her? Did give an opportunity for that Star Wars homage as mentioned above, I suppose! Quite a grim ending too, which I suppose is OK!