Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Flower and Garnet

No, dramas revolving around a family don't have to be overacted or extremely spiced up to be interesting. This is what Keith Behrman's moving Flower and Garnet manages to prove. Obviously, many might be appalled by the slow pace. However, your patience will reward you if you fully watch this film that looks like a sad reality show about a family that is not going well.

During his birth, Garnet, a boy, lost his mother. Besides, Ed, the father, is saddened by his wife's death. By the time Garnet (Colin Roberts) is eight years old, we see that Ed has never known how to deal with Garnet and he has never really tried to take care of his son. This is why Flower (Jane McGregor), Garnet's sixteen years old sister, looks after her brother. Furthermore, he feels attached to her as if she was his mother.

Despite the love for her brother, there are times when Flower wishes that Garnet leaves her alone for the sake of her social/private life. Besides, when Flower becomes pregnant, she leaves the house in order to live on her own (i.e. her boyfriend dumped her because he doesn't want to be a father). Needless to say that Garnet will feel extremely solitary despite his father's attempt to bond with him after so many years of negligence.

First of all, Flower and Garnet is not your family drama built according to the traditional story writing structure. This means that the film unashamedly has a slow pace and displays itself as a study of three characters (over a specific period) who have had difficulty to cope with life since one tragic event: the death of the mother in the family. Thus, here comes the question: is the slow pace justified in Flower and Garnet? Halfway through the film, the film might not have a great impact on you. However, on a second thought, Behrman's smart vision and goal might justify it, because it manages to centre on the three characters.

Secondly, many people might cringe because of the cast's performance. Of course, the performance in Behrman's first feature film shouldn't be seen as being stiff and dull. In fact, Callum Keith Rennie, Jane McGregor and Colin Roberts all manages to depict the characters' despondency, sadness and anger. When these feelings are not expressed through words, they're brilliantly expressed through their facial expressions and body language.

Finally, I went into this film by only thinking about a review from Stephanie over at The Flick Chick. Obviously, the film hard to appreciate in its first half because of the slow pace. Nevertheless, after you've gone through it that you notice how it leaves a good lasting impression on you. All in all, Flower and Garnet is a great tour de force by a visionary director.

Rating: 4/5

Trailer available here

Origin:Canada (2002)
Length:103 minutes
Screenplay:Keith Behrman
Director:Keith Behrman
Starring:Callum Keith Rennie, Jane McGregor and Colin Roberts

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