Sunday, March 4, 2018

Flower: Movie Review

Strangely sweet and heartwarmingly funny.
A dark romantic comedy where you never know if sane and normal happiness is just around the corner, or if eternal depravity is closer than you think. Life, as Flower contends, is always a mix of the two. This is writer-director Max Winkler’s second feature; his first, Ceremony, looked more like a traditional romantic comedy but with an acerbic bite as we followed tragic characters around. Sophomore effort Flower looks nothing like a traditional romantic comedy, presenting a more caustic bite and deeply flawed characters heading straight towards a tragedy. 2017

Directed by: Max Winkler

Screenplay by: Alex McAulay, Matt Spicer, Max Winkler

Starring: Zoey Deutch, Joey Morgan, and Kathryn Hahn

We first meet seventeen-year-old Erica (Zoey Deutch) in a police cruiser, in the front seat, giving a blow job to a much older cop. Her reasons for doing so are simultaneously both better and worse than whatever your first thought was. The first scene also tells you right off the bat that you’re not going to feel very comfortable with this movie, and you probably won’t like the central character very much, but she’s okay with that. You might change your opinion of her when she declares that she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks of her. Perhaps she’s onto something.

Erica is flanked by her single mother Laurie (Kathryn Hahn, giving off Bad Moms vibes). She’s slightly more grounded but she has raised Erica as her best friend and the apple won’t have fallen too far from the tree. In an attempt to straighten up, Laurie is engaged to a reasonably handsome, stable, genuinely good man named Bob. Whether Erica actually likes her future step-father or not, she certainly won’t let him know that. She has already decided that she won’t like her future step-brother Luke, fresh out of rehab.

The film really finds its groove when Luke (Joey Morgan) arrives on the scene to disrupt their already unhinged lives. Erica is extremely rude and purposefully off-putting to Luke, who she calls fat and unattractive and has to be bribed to be nice to (and to top it off, in a very inappropriate way). Little does she know, she’s starting to show her true colours to Luke, and she starts caring about him. Meanwhile, there’s a plot involving suicide, accusations of molestation, revenge and Erica trying to get to her father, currently in jail awaiting bail.

Flower is a very engaging film despite the extreme actions of the lead characters, but these are characters that really grow on you. Laurie isn’t nearly as Bad Moms as you might think, Erica has a heart beneath her abrasive surface, and Luke’s story is there to bring everything together. Flower has a twisted story but it’s also strangely sweet and heartwarmingly funny.

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