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The Constant Gardener is a 2005 drama film directed by Fernando Meirelles. The screenplay by Jeffrey Caine is based on the John le Carré novel of the same name. It tells the story of Justin Quayle, a man who seeks to find the motivating forces behind his wife's murder.

The film stars Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Hubert Koundé, Danny Huston and Bill Nighy. It was filmed on location in Loiyangalanimarker and the slums of Kiberamarker, a section of Nairobimarker, Kenyamarker. The situation affected the cast and crew to the extent that they set up the Constant Gardener Trust in order to provide basic education for these villages.

The DVD versions were released in the USmarker on 1 January 2006 and in the UKmarker on 13 March 2006.


The film is a love story set against a conspiracy of power and dirty deeds. In London Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes) meets and falls in love with outspoken humanitarian Tessa (Rachel Weisz) a beautiful young activist who persuades him to take her back with him to Africa.

Quayle, a shy low-rung British diplomat and horticultural hobbyist posted in Kenya, is one to avoid making a fuss until he learns that his wife was found dead on the veldt. Tessa has been murdered at a crossroads along with her African driver. Her colleague doctor Arnold Bluhm (Hubert Koundé) is initially suspected of her murder but is later found to have also been murdered on the same day as Tessa. Various rumours abound that the two were having an affair; however, it is later revealed that Bluhm is in fact homosexual.

As the mystery surrounding his wife's death unfolds, Quayle is radicalised in his determination to get to the bottom of his wife's murder. He is soon running up against a drug corporation using Africa's population for fraudulent testing of a drug with known harmful side effects, and demonstrating disregard for the well-being of its poor African test subjects.

Danny Huston plays Sandy Woodrow, the British High Commissioner on the scene. Bill Nighy is Sir Bernard Pellegrin, head of the Foreign Officemarker and thus Justin and Sandy's boss.

Filming locations


Reviews have generally been very positive, with Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times calling it "one of the year's best films." However, Michael Atkinson of the Village Voice criticized the movie as "a cannonballing mélange of hack-cuts, impressionistic close-ups, and tropical swelter." Ty Burr of the Boston Globe said the movie diminishes "the real urgency of the West's humanitarian disconnect from Africa. If it sends audiences home to log on to the Amnesty International website, terrific -- but that still doesn't make it a very good movie." On the movie aggregator website, Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a "fresh" 84% rating from regular critics, and a "fresh" 91% from top critics.


The film was nominated for the 2005 Golden Globe Awards in the following categories: Best Motion Picture (Drama), Best Director and Best Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role (Rachel Weisz).

Weisz won the award for Best Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role at the 2005 Golden Globes for her performance in the film, as well as the 2005 Screen Actors Guild award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role.

The film was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, and Best Supporting Actress for Weisz, which she won. In their home country, it had the indications for BAFTA 2006, with 10 indications, including Best Film and Best Director, the biggest number of indications between all the competitors, but it won only one prize, Best Editing for Claire Simpson.

The film has won the awards of Best Film at the London Critics Circle Film Awards, British Independent Film Awards and Evening Standard British Film Awards. The film also gained the SDFCS Awards. Weisz has won six awards for the film altogether. The film won three prizes for Best Film respectively. Overall to date, the film has won 18 awards and a further 40 award nominations.

See also


  1. The Constant Gardener's review summary at RottenTomatoes, retrieved April 12, 2007
  2. The Constant Gardener: Roger Ebert's review
  3. The Constant Gardener: A Mature le Carre Adaptation by Michael Atkinson
  4. The Constant Gardener Movie Review - The Constant Gardener Movie Trailer - The Boston Globe

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