Director: Todd Field
Writer: Laurie Collyer
Cinematography: Guillermo Navarro
Score: Dario Marianelli
Leslie – Keri Russell
Damian – Hugh Jackman
Derek – Brent Kinsman
Tom – Shane Kinsman
Tagline: "A child’s imagination is his conscience"
Synopsis: The woman sat on the bench. She watched her two twin boys play on the jungle gym. They looked so innocent, yet they were still twisting and turning. The woman thought they should wait to do that until they were adults, and their whole life, not just play time, was a jungle gym. She looked at her watch. Quarter to 4. She had 15 more minutes to wait until she could go home and soak her feet while watching re-runs of her favorite soap opera. She looked to her right and saw the willows lining the path around the pond, waving slightly in the breeze. Suddenly the breeze picked up and an empty carriage being pushed by a man appeared from behind the whipping wall of willow branches. He entered the gated park and sat down on the bench across the playground from the woman. The woman smiled and looked over at the man. He smiled, and his dazzling blue eyes caught her off guard. He stared into her eyes with a placid expression on his face.
He got up and walked over to her. He put out his hand. The woman couldn’t resist. She put her hand in his, and he helped her up. The two adults walked to the center of the playground, hand in hand. The children’s laughter mingled with the sound of leaves rustling. The man put his hand on her waist. She put her hand on his shoulder. They began to twirl, slowly at first, and then faster and faster. The woman’s children looked up and saw her dancing with the man to the sounds of the wind. The horns atop his head were sticking through his thick brown hair, and the tail, wrapped around both of the adults, who kept dancing. The children watched as their mother was wrapped up in the tail of the red skinned man. His eyes glowed, and they kept dancing. The children kept watch with praying eyes as, over the next few days, the two became closer and closer, and the tail began to suffocate their mother. Soon the man moved into their home, and the boys decided they had to do something. They convinced themselves that he was, in fact, the devil.
The boys tried to tell their mother, but he was suffocating her with his tail. Leslie keeps telling them that he is a good guy, but the boys don’t buy it. The two decide to run away.They leave the house in the dead of night, looking through the crack in their mother’s door at her soft hair, and his horns, their limbs entangled and moaning. They slip out and walk slowly through suburbia, looking in at the people they thought they knew, doing unimaginable things. It starts to rain so the boys begin to run. They are running across the highway when a honking, screeching sound occurs. Tom stops dead in his tracks as he sees his brother get struck by the speeding car. He roles over the entire length of the car and falls onto the wet pavement. Tom screams and runs to his brother, hauling him to the side of the road. Then, suddenly, an angel appears, and it is Damian. He picks up Derek and they get into his nearby parked car. Derek dies in the hospital, and Demian walks over to Tom, the devils horns sticking through his hair and says, “That was my car.” And he smiles, his eyes glowing.
What the Press would say:
Todd Fields dazzling masterpiece, “Willow” is a beauty to behold. The movie is a suburban drama based loosely off a Canadian folktale, which tells of a devil, who, disguised as a handsome man, dances with the prettiest girl at the social gatherings in town. “Willow” portrays a modernized version of this story as Leslie (played magnificently by Keri Russell) a recently divorced single mother of twins falls in love with a new man in her neighborhood. Her children’s imaginations run wild, as they try desperately to warn their mother of the evil they see in Damian.
Leslie chooses to ignore them and becomes wrapped up in the seductiveness of him. Todd field makes this film a feast for the eyes, and a story about how a child can sometimes see more than an adult can. Hugh Jackman plays Demian, the outwardly normal man who moves into the suburbs near Leslie. With quick wit and a seductive tone, Mr. Jackman turns “Willow” into one of the greatest character studies of all time. “Willow” is one of the freshest and most original films in a very long time, and remember, don’t dance with the devil ‘o he’ll steal your heart.