Base, weeds, Eden and other meanings of the film Master Gardener (2022): plot summary, description, meaning of the film, similar movies
Genre: drama, crime, melodrama
Year of production: 2022
Director: Paul Schrader
Actors: Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver, Quintessa Swindell, Esai Morales
Slogan: “You reap what you sow”
Awards and nominations: The film was presented at the 2022 Venice Film Festival
Paul Schrader’s dramatic talent was revealed against the backdrop of his collaboration with Martin Scorsese. However, he was able to fully introduce us to his worldview as a director.
The plot of the film “Master Gardener” tells the story of a man with a difficult past, which suddenly invades the present. This subtle and clever picture with hidden meaning raises several topical themes. Everyone has to draw their own conclusions.
What is the movie about
Brief description of the content of the tape. Narvel Roth works as a gardener on a beautiful, rich estate. He enjoys a calm, measured life, but the day comes when everything changes.
Joel Edgerton played the role of Narvel Roth. Still from the film.
One day he is asked to come by the owner, Mrs. Norma Haverhill. She has a great-niece. Not long ago, Maya, that’s the girl’s name, became orphaned. Having a hard time with the death of her mother, who died of breast cancer, she got involved with bad company. To protect Maya from further degradation, Mrs. Norma asks Narvel to take her on as her student. For a man, the idea of giving gardening lessons to a young girl seems very dubious, but you can’t argue with the hostess.
Soon a girl, a pretty quadroon, arrives at the estate. To Narvel’s message that now he will teach her botany, Maya responds with a skeptical grin: she is not very interested in this. However, she obediently attends classes and completes assignments. She had not yet seen Mrs. Haverhill – in the opinion of the mistress of the estate, there was no point in this.
Narvel only outwardly seems to be a calm, friendly person. He has a dark past behind him: in his youth he joined a non-official Army group and worked as a killer. However, he soon became disillusioned with the idea of white supremacy. Refusing to kill the wife and daughter of a black preacher, he eventually “turned over” all the neo-Army to the authorities and became a participant in the witness protection program.
A little later, Norma invites Narvel over again. She tells him that she has health problems and intends to think about the future. She guarantees him the transfer of control over his gardens, a lifelong “pension” and the right to choose his successor when he sees fit. Narvel gently hints that Norma should meet with her great-niece and she, eventually agreeing, asks to arrange everything.
Soon Norma and Maya actually meet. The woman wants to talk to the girl about her family and makes it clear that she is doing her a favor. She calls Maya’s mother flawed, and the girl herself – impudent.
Sigourney Weaver played the role of Mrs. Haverhill. Still from the film.
The girl feels very lonely and gradually she and Narvel become closer. A little later, the answer to Norma’s hostile attitude towards the girl’s mother becomes clear: she was connected with the drug mafia and had a bunch of related problems.
One day, Narvel is invited to a meeting by a government agent, Oscar Neruda, and reports two news: firstly, he will soon retire and from now on another specialist will take over his case. And secondly, despite the fact that Narvel destroyed the neo-Army gang, it cannot be said that he is safe – he is still remembered. Narvel asks Neruda to “break through” Maya’s walking problem – drug dealer Robbie Gomez, also known as R. G. and have an educational conversation with him.
Norma, in turn, has an educational conversation with Maya and insults her. Narvel stands up for the girl and asks Norma to apologize to her. The furious housewife believes that there is no point in this. In addition, she is confident that she is right. Unable to convince Narvel, she demands that he leave the estate.
Insulted and humiliated, Maya herself is not going to stay in the house of the “benefactor” and Narvel invites her to leave together. The girl feels trust in him and therefore agrees. On the way, Maya asks him to stop by her at her previous address – she must pick up one thing there. The girl’s house is located in a very disadvantaged area and the man, tensed, invites Maya to accompany her, but she refuses and says that everything will be OK.
Intuition tells Narvel that there will be no “OK”. Soon he meets the same R. Ji, whom Maya is so afraid of and warns him not to touch the girl. The slender drug dealer responds by calling him a “damn army.” When Maya returns, it turns out that she is high, and the thing that needed to be taken was drugs. Angry, Narvel demands that the girl immediately throw away the dope in front of him.
The role of Maya was played by Quintessa Swindell. Still from the film.
Slowly, their soft friendship develops into romance, and they spend the night together. And everything would be fine, only the man’s entire body is covered with Army tattoos. Shocked Maya asks him to remove them.
Soon Narvel meets with the new agent and he reveals that the witness protection program is still relevant – his confidentiality has not been disclosed. Narvel asks how things are going with R. G., but the curator is surprised: Neruda didn’t say anything about it.
Narvel soon learns that drug addicts have destroyed Mrs. Haverhill’s gardens and returns to the estate. The hostess gives her gardener the go-ahead to take revenge, but the man is sure that Maya must deal with R. G. However, the girl refuses this and then he breaks their legs.
Master Gardener ending explained
Explanation of the ending of the film. Towards the end, Norma rehires Narvel. He agrees to help her with the garden, but on one condition – he and Maya will live together. After fidgeting a little, the old woman finally agrees.
The meaning of the ending of the film Master Gardener is as follows. By cultivating the garden, the main character gained the ability to feel, and after meeting Maya, he learned to love. The girl, in turn, experienced a wonderful transformation and now they will work in the garden together.
The meaning of the film Master Gardener
In their analysis of the film, many viewers note that the title, adapted for the Russian market, does not reflect the essence of the film well.
The title “Master Gardener” suits this story much better. This is the name of the certification program in the USA and Canada, which helps everyone who wants to undergo intensive training in horticulture and, if necessary, obtain the appropriate profession. However, the word “master” has another interpretation: it hints at the Nazi worldview.
In his youth, the main character considered himself a real Aryan and destroyed all human “weeds” by the roots. The whole story of that terrible weeding and harvest was tattooed on his body. Suddenly realizing the horror of what the gang was doing, Narvel began to engage in peaceful labor. Working with soil and plants, he understood and felt the naturalness and inevitability of metamorphosis: time comes and the garden changes. The same thing happens to himself… The director directly compares a person with a plant and believes that cultivating one’s own (sometimes very neglected) nature is not only the only and necessary activity, but also a real art.
Narvel loves the earth because it gives him healing. However, the past weighs on him – that is why he does not remove the tattoos, but on the contrary, having awakened from another nightmare, he examines them in the mirror. He understands that his demons are alive – they are sitting somewhere deep and can jump out at any moment. He doesn’t want this and is desperately trying to escape. And he succeeds.
In general, a gardener is a profession that gives rise to many interesting metaphors, and the director skillfully uses the volume of this image. According to the concept of the painting, by removing weeds, the gardener is trying to get rid of old sins. In their place, he grows beautiful flowers that symbolize new life. Working with plants is truly a real art, because contemplating a beautiful garden encourages you to purify yourself and become a better version of yourself. This is exactly what the main character thinks, confident that this time he is doing the right thing.
The garden is also a wonderful metaphor – it is a clear allusion to Eden, from which, according to the Bible, people were once expelled. Narvel is a typical prodigal son, a repentant sinner who atoned for his sins with his deeds. The same goes for Maya. Like her lover, she broke with the dark past and entered a new life with it. Their return to the estate is the return of a new Adam and Eve to Eden. They understood everything. And now everything will be different…
Still from the film.
Here are several films that are somewhat similar in meaning and plot to the film Master Gardener:
- “The Diary of a Shepherd” (USA, UK, Australia, 2017). Reverend Toller is experiencing a severe personal and professional crisis.
- “Cold Calculation” (USA, UK, China, Sweden, 2021). William is an experienced poker player. He has a difficult past behind him and one day fate gives him an amazing chance…
- “Endless Pool” (France, Canada, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Croatia, 2023). A famous writer, while on vacation in a third world country, accidentally hits a man. Now he will have to answer for this to the fullest extent of the law.
- “Inside” (Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Greece). A thief breaks into a rich apartment and suddenly finds himself trapped.