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Narvel Roth (Joel Edgerton) is the meticulous horticulturist of Gracewood Gardens. He is as much devoted to tending the grounds of this beautiful and historic estate, to pandering to his employer, the wealthy dowager Mrs. Haverhill (Sigourney Weaver). When Mrs. Haverhill demands that he take on her wayward and troubled great-niece Maya (Quintessa Swindell) as a new apprentice, chaos enters Narvel’s spartan existence, unlocking dark secrets from a buried violent past that threaten them all.
Master Gardener is the new film by legendary writer-director Paul Schrader
Part of the kick of Master Gardener is that the writer-director Paul Schrader manages to pull off this improbable movie. It shouldn’t work and, even after seeing it twice, I don’t think that it entirely does, which only makes it more FASCINATING and strengthens its power. THERE’S MUCH TO ADMIRE about the movie’s tense dreaminess, its pulpy undertow and severe elegance, as well as the astonishing, awkward sincerity with which Schrader hurtles headlong at questions of love, hate, race and redemption in an unforgiving world. CRITIC’S PICK! – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
All the performances here are remarkable. Quintessa Swindell perfectly underplays her character’s anger and vulnerability. Joel Edgerton is similarly contained; like Al Pacino, he’s a great eye actor, and sometimes when he looks down, there’s a blackness in his gaze that suits the character. And this picture presents a Sigourney Weaver performance of the kind you’ve never seen before. She’s magisterial. PAUL SCHRADER IS A GREAT ARTIST. He’s earned his prerogatives, and this work here is up to the high standard he’s set for himself over the past decade and more.- Glenn Kenny, RogerEbert.com