In Eden, writer/director Howard Goldberg brings to the screen a beautiful, ethereal tale of transcendence and transformation. Working on a plurality of levels, the film begins with the story of a young housewife married to a faculty member at a very upscale New England boarding school, Mt. Eden. Married at an early age and already confined by the responsibility of two young children, Helen is further restricted by her physical condition, for, unfortunately, she has multiple sclerosis and must wear a leg brace. Upstairs in her house board three students, including David, the incipient rebel of the sixties, bright but in constant trouble, particularly with his professor and counselor, who also happens to be Helen’s husband, Bill, the embodiment of the authoritarian conformity and aspiration that also typify 1960s America. Both Helen and David are burdened, more accurately stultified, by Bill’s traditional insistence on repression and toughness.
But a new age is brewing, and both narratively and metaphorically, Goldberg takes us there. One night Helen falls asleep and dreams of flight. Confused but excited, she soon experiences full-blown, out-of-body travel and begins roaming the world and beyond. What ensues is a wonderfully engaging melodrama which touches our minds, our spirits, and our hearts.
Avoiding the possible pitfalls of obscure mysticism and overreaching sentimentality, Eden becomes a flight and exploration for each of us. The originality of Goldberg’s vision and storytelling ability result in a marvelous, multifaceted film encounter with the mysteries of life that is thought provoking and inspiring. Along the way, Eden manages to bring to life one of the best portraits of the coming of a new age I’ve seen. Full of nuance, detailed direction, and atmosphere, and featuring fine engaging performances, strange effects, and perfect settings and camerawork, Eden is a very unique film, one with an ambitious conception and admirable reach.
— Geoffrey Gilmore