Imagine my delight when I cranked up Amazon Video and saw two Helen Mirren films sitting there side by side. Greenfingers from 2000 looked like a bit of fluff. Eye in the Sky from 2015 looked dead serious. I went with fluff.
The warmhearted Greenfingers was just what my mood required. It’s based on a true story about a group of prisoners who learn to garden and enter the Hampton Court Garden Show.
The English prisoners were in an ‘open’ prison, which means they were allowed to leave for work details, or even to enter garden shows. Clive Owen played the prisoner Colin Briggs, who discovered his gardening skills by accident. Other prisoners included David Kelly as Fergus, Danny Dyer as Tony, Adam Fogerty as Raw, and Paterson Joseph as Jimmy.
This collection of thieves and murderers attract the attention of famous gardener and author Georgina Woodhouse (Mirren). She puts them to work helping her create a garden at a posh estate. While the men work, Colin and Georgina’s daughter Primrose (Natasha Little) fall in love.
Everything about the story is a cliché, even though it’s based on true events. The goodhearted prisoner. The fireworks as the lovers kiss. The progressive Governor (Warren Clarke). The happy ending.
That’s okay. Sometimes you need a great story with a happy ending. Life is hard. Spend 90 minutes feeling good if you can. Be not ashamed.
In addition to Amazon Video, Greenfingers is available on iTunes and YouTube. Since this is a film from 2000, you may have seen it years ago. Do you remember what you thought about it?