Flower & Garnet

Flower & Garnet

Flower is a teenage girl, and Garnet is her eight year old brother. They are being raised by a single father, because their mother died in childbirth.

The father and Garnet are both quiet and undemonstrative for the most part, but in different ways. The father has a grimness to him, a general attitude of low-level bitterness and disgust over his fate that he mostly chooses to keep under the surface. He is largely unavailable emotionally, including being able to connect only minimally with his children, especially his son, whom he of course associates with the death of his wife. (He clearly thinks he got the bad end of that trade.)

Garnet, on the other hand, is overly serious for a child, and drifts through the movie with an expression of sadness, looking like he understands probably a lot more than you’d think of what goes on around him. He’s never shown with friends, and it appears he has little or no ability to connect with people, except his sister, to whom he’s very attached and who functions as a mother to him. But even with her, it’s more of a clingy kind of closeness than a comfortable, relaxed, close relationship.

Flower is easily the most together of the three, no more messed up than the average person her age, and probably a bit less so.

The movie is primarily about these folks’ efforts to live and grow as a family and deal with the not-so-good hand life has dealt them. Those efforts are more unsuccessful than successful. The movie is realistic in its portrayal of their dysfunctions, making the movie more depressing than uplifting.

I was never fully drawn in by these characters. There is nothing I can put my finger on that makes Flower & Garnet a bad movie per se, but I got tired of watching this kid looking wounded and insufficiently loved in every scene.

It’s a low budget indie, and stylistically it felt flat to me. I respect that it addresses important emotional issues, and I wanted to like it more, but I just didn’t feel engaged most of the way.

In style and quality it’s probably comparable to The Favor. I feel like I got into The Favor more because I was better able to connect it in my mind with my own emotional experiences or things I’ve spent time reflecting on. That didn’t happen with Flower & Garnet, and I suspect that’s more because of what I brought to these movies than to one genuinely being superior to the other.

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