Where to Watch: Theaters & Apple TV+
Written & Directed By:
Eve Hewson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Orén Kinlan
All media courtesy of Apple TV +
Flora and her son Max do not get along. She’s a single mother carrying the weight of an non supporting ex husband, and Max cannot stop theiving. Now he’s on his last chance before he could be facing serious jail time, and Flora needs to figure out a way to get Max distracted with anything else. Once she sees a dingy guitar in the trash, she decides music must be the way in, but will Max take to it? Or will Flora find her own passion in music with an overseas instructor.
John Carney is one of my favorite directors working today. I’ve always felt a deeper connection to his storytelling through music, and how he is able to direct that passion whether it be Glen Hansard in ‘Once’ or the loveable hit ‘Sing Street’. Once I learned his new film would debut in Sundance this year, I knew that I was in for another crowd-pleaser.
Eve Hewson is fantastic as Flora. She’s a pretty unlikeable character on paper, with exchanging in insults with Max, forgetting his birthday, and completely dismissing his real needs until she begins her own journey though guitar. Hewson doesn’t shy away from that reality, but she also gives Flora warmth and passion that builds her own confidence, and allows her to be likeable and relatable especially I’m sure for mothers who maybe had their child earlier than expected.
There are some great songs co-written with Gary Clark I am still listening to long after the credits have rolled, but the music doesn’t feel as well integrated to the story that Carneys previous work does. One of the most anticipated songs winds up in the credits, possibly because it just didn’t fit the story or messed with the pacing. Pacing is also an issue, where we have the main plot of Flora connecting with her son, the B plot with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who does great with the music side of his character, but his dialogue surrounding guitar playing can come off as a little too cheesy. These two stories don’t feel incredibly integrated with each other until the end, and maybe that disconnect could have been saved in editing.
Overall, I had a great time with ‘Flora & Son’. It has warmth , heart, and humor with some great music throughout. It doesn’t stand quite as tall as John Carneys other films in my opinion, but still is one I can easily rewatch.