Released in 2006 but recently made available via DVD and VOD, FIREFLIES stars Kate Mara (IRON MAN 2) as a precocious 15-year old Taylor and Dan Frazer (DECONSTRUCTING HARRY) as her kindly grandfather Jack. Directed by Stephan Lacant, this feature (for some reason I got the made-for-TV version) explores the themes of death and elder family connections.
Taylor’s mother and father are expecting a new baby, and Taylor seems only able to connect with her grandfather Jack, who opts to treat her more like a young adult rather than the child that her parents still believe her to be. The film hedges pretty heavily on the plot device that Jack has been teaching Taylor how to drive. Early in the movie this comes into play when the two of them steal Taylor’s father’s vintage Mercedes to get a hands-on experience driving and end up almost getting into an accident. This prompts Taylor’s father to place Jack into an elder care home. This doesn’t sit well with Taylor and the rest of the movie is essentially her trying to figure out a way to rescue Jack from this nursing home.
The movie is shot beautifully on 35mm, but the editing could have been a little tighter. It seems often that there is just a split second that could have been cut during dialogue scenes between the characters to increase the pace and tension in some of the moments. The characters of Taylor and Jack as great and their chemistry is completely believable. However the parental characters are pretty blase and generic, easily forgotten but also necessary as a foil to Kate’s character. This is not to say the acting was sub-par in the least, in fact it was quite good, but the characters themselves could have been a bit more rounded and dynamic.
Overall I did enjoy watching this movie, and would certainly recommend it as a flick to watch with your parents or grandparents during a night stranded inside. The film does a good job of getting its point across without being too heavy-handed, and its conclusion is far more original than one might think.
FILM SYNOPSIS - The coming of age story of a fifteen-year-old girl who struggles to rescue her grandfather from a nursing home.