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Lunch » Tags » Movies » Reviews » Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997 movie) » User review

And What Side are YOUR Crazy People On, Ms. Sugarbaker???

  • Apr 25, 2000
Pros: VERY unusual characters

Cons: adult situations

...and Julia replied, "both!"

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil touches this southern girl's heart and tickles her funny bone. My beautiful friend Michael told me a while back that it was a very interesting story about a Savannah "bachelor." Knowing my friend, I knew just what he meant.

I waited for it to come out on video, and I can't tell you how many times I've watched it. Kevin Spacey again displays his formidable talent in his role of the Savannah "bachelor" who gets suddenly "outed" to society when he kills his young roughneck lover. He takes this in stride and in some ways seems very amused by the situation. Spacey truly can smile with his eyes.

John Cusack visits Savannah from New York initially to cover a Christmas Party for Town and Country Magazine. His article goes by the wayside as the murder occurs and he gets swept up into the local intrigue. The story is full of COLORFUL southern characters. On some levels I wish it was only poking fun, but I've known my share of Southern folks of interesting demeanor. In a cafe after "fly-tied" Luther leaves without eating, the waitress tells Cusack that Luther threatens to poison the local water supply. When Cusack asks her if she believes it she replies, "I've lived around here most of my life, I'll believe just about anything."

Certainly the most fun character in the film is The Lady Chablis, a campy transvestite who keeps offering to show his candy to John Cusack. Chablis is a former friend of the dear departed roughneck and seems quite delighted by the attention of the New York City reporter. One of the funniest scenes occurs when Chablis follows Cusack to a society Cotillion and behaves very badly indeed.

In addition to the crazy situations and bizarre people, a mystical element is added in with Minerva, an old Voodoo woman who discusses working the good magic and the bad magic before and after midnight.

This film is ultimately about justice, and justice does seem to be served although in a not very conventional manner. The characters, although silly seeming, are mostly very genuine in their own peculiar ways. This film is a marvelous ensemble piece, the cast works very well together and they tell a strange and compelling and entertaining story.


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More Midnight in the Garden of Good... reviews
review by . September 13, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
In this movie, John Cusack plays "Esquire' witer John Berendt who travels to Savannah to attend the annual holiday event hosted by antique dealer, Jim Williams.      Clint Eastwood directs the movie and stays close to the action in the book.      The setting is excellent and the characters are well placed and memorable.      I recently watched the movie and then re-read the book and was impressed by how they compimented each other.
review by . July 05, 2009
John Kelso (John Cusack) is a writer who has come to Savannah to cover a big party given by socialite Jim Williams (Kevin Spacey).  The next day, however, Williams is arrested for murder and John stays on to get to the bottom of the case.         Despite being a true story, directed by Clint Eastwood, and based on a successful novel, this movie left me bored and annoyed.  The plot is quite slim so the story is filled out with quirky …
review by . August 10, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
I watched MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL for the first time about five years ago. At the time, I found it to be a very strange and bizarre movie, but one that was also fascinating. It captured my imagination. After finally being able to read the book that the film is based upon, I re-watched the movie again. After having read the book, my impressions of the film didn't change much. I was a little bit disappointed that some of the best characters from the book were compressed or totally …
review by . June 05, 2000
Pros: The Lady, of course     Cons: probably Eastwood     What makes a great movie? Transvestites, homosexuals and murder .... what else? First I read the book and then I saw the movie, which in this case was fine. Many details were left out of the movie which fortunately I retrieved from the book.      The setting is historic Savannah, we are entering the back doors and bedrooms of the filthy rich and powerful. Naughty and bizarre and …
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About this movie


Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a film directed by Clint Eastwood based on the book. The film features Kevin Spacey as Jim Williams and Jude Law as Danny Hansford. He was called Billy Carl Hanson in the movie, so as not to offend members of the Hansford family. The Lady Chablis appeared as herself.

Several changes were made from the book. Many of the more colorful characters were eliminated or made into composite characters. The reporter role, played by John Cusack, was based upon Berendt. However Cusack's character was given a love interest not featured in the book, a role played by Eastwood's daughter Alison Eastwood. The multiple Williams trials were combined into one on-screen trial. Jim Williams real life attorney Sonny Seiler appeared in the movie in the role of Judge White, the presiding judge at the film's trial.

Advertising for the film became a source of controversy when Warner Bros. used elements of Jack Leigh's famous photograph in its posters for the movie without his permission. They later settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

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Director: Clint Eastwood
Genre: Drama
Release Date: November 20, 1997
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: John Lee Hancock, John Berendt
DVD Release Date: Warner Home Video (June 02, 1998)
Runtime: 2hr 35min
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