Where to Watch: Theaters
Written & Directed By:
Eve Hewson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Orén Kinlan
All media courtesy of Apple TV +
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (The Daily Dish) — Flora and her son Max do not get along. She’s a single mother carrying the weight of a non-supporting ex-husband, and Max cannot stop thieving. 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, exchanging in insults with Max, forgetting his birthday, and ultimately dismissing his real needs until she begins her own journey through the 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 likable and relatable especially I’m sure for mothers who may have had their child earlier than expected.
There are some great songs co-written with Gary Clark that I am still listening to long after the credits have rolled, but the music doesn’t feel as well integrated into the story that Carney’s previous work does. One of the most anticipated songs winds up in the credits, possibly because it 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. Still, 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 Carney’s other films in my opinion, but still is one I can easily rewatch.
See It or Skip It? See It!
NOTE: This piece was written/aired during the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the entertainment reviewed here wouldn’t exist.