Flora and Son Review
Iain Carney’s Flora and Son is another musically driven charmer, with Eve Hewson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt at their best.
Plot: Flora (Eve Hewson) is a young, hard-partying mother living in Dublin with her teenage son, Max (Orén Kinlan). He’s a would-be criminal always in trouble with the cops, and her ex (Jack Reynor) is a well-meaning but unreliable flake. When she finds a guitar in the trash, she decides, on a spur of the moment, to take guitar lessons online. Her teacher (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) turns out to be kind and compassionate, and she soon discovers that music may be the way she finally reaches her son. .
Review: When it comes to making films about the healing power of music, there’s no one better than John Carney. He has directed a couple of classics: Once, Start againand Sail Street. Flora and her Son It’s very much in the vein of those other films, telling a mischievous, funny and touching story about how even the most troubled relationships can be saved when you find common ground.
Flora Eve Hewson has a great role for the rising actress, who impressed me a few years ago on Cinemax’s The Knock. She is portrayed as a hell-raiser, along with a hard-drinking party girl whose ways have not changed because she is now a single mother. Her son, Max, seems to despise her, but she admits that she was never really into him – even though he is now a teenager, his rebellious ways are coming up with it. He is about to be sent to reform school, so she buys him a guitar in a last ditch effort to find him a creative outlet. He refuses her gift, so Flora chooses to learn the guitar herself, more as a way to keep up with him and her bass player, who wants a pop star father (Jack Reynor), just to find out she has talent.
The role allows Hewson to be funny and vulnerable in equal measures, and she has a great singing voice (perhaps not surprisingly because her father, as her every article about her notes, happens to be Bono). She is wonderful in the role, and so is Orén Kinlan as her son, who starts the film as a carpet but gets worse as the film continues. Kinlan, as usual in Carney’s film, is a talented musician, with his character depicted as an electronic music composer and rapper. This allows Carney to branch out into different musical styles than we’ve seen from his previous films, and the final track had the Sundance audience clapping along to his chorus – something I didn’t see coming. never been here before.
Another recurring theme in Carney’s films is how not all relationships have to end happily ever after to have a positive impact on someone’s life. In Once and Begin Again, the two leads come in and out of each other’s lives, with hints of romance, only for the two not to end up together, even if they do. each other better through their interactions. Flórai and her son have the same kind of relationship at the center of the stage, with guitar teacher Joseph Gordon-Levitt living in Los Angeles and Flórai living in Dublin. They both have commitments and can’t give up everything to be together, and their relationship is emotional and takes place entirely over Zoom. The way Carney keeps this from happening is that Flora thinks her hungry teacher is sitting next to her, putting the two in the same place. The style shows how close they are emotionally rather than physically, and Levitt is at his most attractive as the romantic, kind teacher.
Jack Reynor, which was displayed to great effect in Sail Street, also has a good role as Flora’s reckless ex. In another film, he would be portrayed as a monster, but he means well here. He and Flora can’t get along, but you feel that he cares for his son (and even Fingal) in his own way. His dreams of pop stardom are brought to life through a hilarious video he shot for his band in the mid-2000s, alongside wannabe Chris Martin, whose biggest fame is once on the same bill as Snow Patrol .
One really has to give Carney a lot of credit, since he usually stays in one genre (the music-driven romance/comedy), but he does it so brilliantly. No one makes films like he does, and each of his films feels like a gift. Flora and her Son he is no exception. Flora and her Son now streaming on Apple TV+.