Master Gardener


Drama / Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Fresh69%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled58%
IMDb Rating6.5101032

gardencharacter study

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Joel Edgerton Photo
Joel Edgerton as Narvel Roth
Sigourney Weaver Photo
Sigourney Weaver as Norma Haverhill
Esai Morales Photo
Esai Morales as Oscar Neruda
Quintessa Swindell Photo
Quintessa Swindell as Maya Core
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1019.5 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 50 min
P/S 32 / 277
2.05 GB
English 5.1
23.976 fps
1 hr 50 min
P/S 79 / 445

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by steiner-sam6 / 10

Not Paul Schrader's best work

It's a drama set in modern times somewhere in the American South. It tells the story of a master gardener on an imperious woman-owned estate that opens its gardens once a year to raise money for charity.

Narvel Roth (Joel Edgerton) is the master gardener working for Norma Haverhill (Sigourney Weaver). He is a highly skilled and highly disciplined gardener. Four other staff are working in the gardens, and a couple are in the main house. Narvel lives alone in a small house in the gardens.

Mrs. Haverhill tells Norval, at their weekly dinner with benefits, to take on as an intern her great-niece, Maya (Quintessa Swindell). Maya is the biracial granddaughter of Mrs. Haverhill's deceased sister. She comes with issues, including drug abuse, which Norval quickly recognizes.

"Master Gardener" follows Narvel peculiar habits, including writing in a daily journal, and underscores his vast knowledge about the history of flower gardens. A series of quick flashbacks combined with a striking scene reveal that Narvel was a white supremacist in his past and that he is currently living under a different name.

Narvel tries to rescue Maya from a past menace which leads to a change in their relationship and results in a confrontation with Mrs. Haverhill. A resolution follows a climactic crisis.

"Master Gardener" was a decent dramatic mystery until the last 15 minutes. Joel Edgerton played well a tightly-controlled protagonist with a past. Sigourney Weaver had a less developed character. Quintessa Swindell was OK in a reasonably conventional role. For me, the plot's resolution left way too many questions unanswered. We needed to know much about the pasts of both Narvel and Mrs. Haverhill. And many threads about Narvel's relationship to the law were left dangling. This film was not Paul Schrader's best work.

Reviewed by QoS0078 / 10

Profoundly colorful

Schrader hits his usual marks in Master Gardener, being reminiscent of Taxi Driver's cinematic good and evil struggle while having clear unique separation in both story and dialogue.

Joel Edgerton steals every scene and crafts it into his own. Brilliant acting and a wonderful cast, but the way his character attempts to maintain the garden of his own realm is the most beautiful premise within the film. There's a chaotic calm in the way the story progresses and it was nice to see chunks of backstory melded together with the real time events.

If you're a fan of any of Schrader's works, I highly recommend going to see this. While The Card Counter portrayed itself as a depressing slog that never seemed to want to find its way, Master Gardener visualizes a wholesome collection of emotions that each viewer can resonate with in their own way.

Reviewed by ferguson-66 / 10

Schrader embraces awkward

Greetings again from the darkness. The word of the day is "awkward." Every character, every situation, every moment, and every conversation in this film can be described with that word. An attempt will be made to not overuse that adjective here, but yours truly offers no guarantees. Paul Schrader has had a long and impressive career as both writer and director. His early successes include screenplays for TAXI DRIVER (1976),ROLLING THUNDER (1977),RAGING BULL (1980),and THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (1988),as well as directing AMERICAN GIGOLO (1980) and AFFLICTION (1997). The past few years have been a bit of a resurgence for Schrader with the excellent FIRST REFORMED (2018) and THE CARD COUNTER (2021).

In his latest, Schrader gives us Narvel Roth, an expert horticulturalist played by Joel Edgerton. Narvel is responsible for the massive gardens on the estate of wealthy dowager Norma Haverhill (Sigourney Weaver). Narvel's daily rituals are carried forth with his meticulous approach, including daily journaling in his sparse living quarters located on the grounds of the estate. As narrator, Narvel tells us, "a change will come in its due time", and though he's speaking of the garden, we understand the words also apply to him. Soon enough, we learn that this current lifestyle represents a significant change from his past, and it's clear another is brewing.

The relationship between Narvel and Ms. Haverhill is quite unorthodox, and yes, awkward (she has nicknamed him 'Sweet Pea'). She is filled with entitlement and thrives on her power over others, not hesitating to use Narvel for more than his gardening skills. In fact, his past likely provides quite an enticement for her. Ms. Haverhill soon charges Narvel with taking her estranged and off-track great-niece Maya (Quintessa Swindell, BLACK ADAM, 2022) under his wing and teaching her the profession of gardening. This creates the second and third of the three relationships at play in the film. Narvel and Maya hit it off, as her intelligence and work ethic win him over. However, things aren't as smooth between Maya and Ms. Haverhill. Their first chat, though long delayed, epitomizes the awkwardness prevalent throughout the film.

Adding complexity to the story is Maya's personal life which brings a couple of drug dealers to the forefront. It's this development that uncovers the past Narvel has worked so hard to cover up. After a meeting with his Witness Protection contact (Esai Morales),Narvel begins his process of 'saving' Maya ... a clear attempt at redemption from his past life, and this is where her being bi-racial is a significant plot point.

The first two acts offer an unconventional form of entertainment. Edgerton nails the Narvel role with his Steven Wright delivery, slicked back hair, SLING BLADE wardrobe, and fastidious procession through the day. Even his posture and stride change along with his character's shifting outlook. The three relationships between the tormented characters weave quite the web, and as secrets are exposed, the dynamics of these relationships change as well. Schrader includes a few cringy lines of dialogue (perhaps by design?),and the drug dealers seem purposefully cartoonish, rather than intimidating or menacing. There are call-backs to earlier Schrader works, as it seems many of his characters over the years have battled personal demons, yet this one does offer a glimmer of optimism, which could be considered a step forward ... even if it's a bit awkward.

Opens in theaters on May 19, 2023.

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