Few filmmakers glorify music, the magical power that moves and transforms us, more than John Carney. his breakthrough hit, one time (2007) followed an Irish street performer and a Czech pianist playing guitar in Dublin that captivated audiences, won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and inspired a Broadway musical. Flora and son is not a remake, Carney certainly borrows tropes from previous films. But why not borrow the formula and tweak it so it wins?
Flora and son 14-year-old boy Max (very natural Oren Kinlan’s petty theft threatens to send him to a juvenile detention center.as she does in her recent series Bad Sisters, Hewson takes the chaos of a flawed but good-hearted character and makes her sympathetic, likable, and wholly human. When Max was born, Flora was only 17 years old and was making her living as a babysitter, but she’s no sentimental mother angel. She is first seen enthusiastically dancing and drinking in a club. She indignantly curses her son. Most of the time, she’s stuck on what to do with him, but her ex, Max’s father (Jack Reynor), is too big a kid himself to be of any help.
Flora and son
When Flora finds an old guitar in the trash, she restores it for Max. However, he refused the present the day after he forgot her birthday (thank you, Mom), so she decided to take lessons on her own. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Jeff, a teacher she found online. Jeff is a former up-and-coming musician who lives in Topanga and now on Zoom where he offers $20 lessons each. When Jeff rhapsodizes on his passion for music and its power to influence emotions, he may be channeling the emotions that shape Carney’s films. No, but Gordon-Levitt makes it totally believable, giving Jeff an understated charm and creating a dynamic of conflicting charm with Flora’s brash vitality.
Flora and Jeff’s Zoom sessions are much more active than expected. At first, provoked by a large glass of wine, she approached him, and the next day she coldly sent an apology text. Their connection is evident even on screen, and when the lesson really begins, Carney weaves the music he puts into the film. Original song by Gary Clarke and Carney Thing Street (2016), Carney’s film about teenagers forming a band in the 1980s. The new songs are mostly ballads, some deliberately amateurish, some Jeff would never become a star, and some beautiful. Gordon-Levitt and Hewson perform vocals of their own, with pleasant, light, understated voices.
The point in all of Carney’s films is that music is itself one of life’s great gifts, and the idea that Jeff helps appreciate Flora. When his own mediocre composition about her Topanga fails to move her, he sends her a video of Joni Mitchell singing her “Both Sides Now.” He’s unfazed about the difference between Mitchell’s talent and his, but that never stops him from playing.
Music extends to style as well. While teaching Flora, Jeff sings a few Tom Waits and Hoagy Carmichael songs. With the story moving forward in flux, Max begins mixing music tracks and adding rap lyrics on his laptop, while Flora helps him create a music video for a girl he likes. However, whenever the next step for his plot in Romantic His Comedy seems obvious, Carney veers in a different direction.
Carney and production designer Ashley Jeffers have a strong sense of the detailed textures of the characters’ lives, especially Flora’s cluttered apartment littered with ashtrays and wine glasses. There’s nothing flashy or eye-catching about the visuals here. Cinematography and editing are robust and functional. Carney tends to rely on his shot style of flat shot/reverse for the majority of the film. But in a few gracefully done scenes, Jeff actually appears in Flora’s kitchen or a zooming park, and her wishful imagination lets him into her space as the relationship grows. to go.
Carney’s films have their own unique characteristics, Flora and Thorn never land with the same originality. one time Did it. But this charming film makes the most of its stylistic DNA.