A Man Named Pearl | Movie Reviews + Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

A Man Named Pearl 

Inspirational doc about a self-taught topiary gardener


As a hobby, Pearl Fryar, an African-American factory worker in a small fading town, took up gardening, specifically creating fantastic and fantastical topiary. With no training, Fryar spent decades sculpting discarded hedges and trees into abstract art. Now, his three-acre front yard -- long an off-beat tourist attraction drawing both horticulturists and fans of outsider art -- is helping to put tiny Bishopville, S.C. on the map. In their charming little documentary, filmmakers Scott Galloway and Brent Pierson catch up with Fryar, as the soft-spoken sharecropper's son explains the larger rewards his garden has brought, including inspiring young people, healing racial rifts, honoring God and just giving him a chance to thrill in his unique talents. There are few surprises in this laudatory, inspirational film, but Fryar is a worthy subject and a motivator to careless gardeners everywhere. (Wait until you meet his neighbors.) His topiary works featured here are simply astounding. Starts Fri., Oct. 17. Regent Square



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