Flora and Son
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After a jaded single mom gets to the end of her rope with her rebellious teenage son and ex husband, she finds a new way to connect through a discarded guitar in this edgy, Ireland-set comedic drama.
Eve Hewson (Bad Sisters, Behind Her Eyes), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Super Pumped), and Jack Reynor (Midsommar) take the lead. John Carney (Once, Sing Street) writes, directs, and contributes to the music.
If the musical pedigree alone doesn’t intrigue you, the Dublin backdrop and leads Eve Hewson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt will lure you into this ultimately uplifting story.
Bono’s youngest daughter learned a few things growing up, and if Flora and Son wasn’t written for Hewson – or with her – it could have been. Imagine growing up with one of the biggest rock gods on earth, and watching how he could entrance and seduce entire stadiums with a three minute song?
The power of chords and lyrics, woven and pulsed and emoted to seduce and transform people, is the thread that connects writer-director John Carney’s musical dramas. In this one, Hewson plays Flora, a hard-edged, hard-partying single mom who’s sulky teenage son isn’t afraid to throw the C word at her and threaten violence. Adding to her woes, she’s not over her ex, a washed-up musician who has moved on, and when she overshares some brutal honesty about motherhood, her best friend tells her she’s a psycho.
There’s dark Irish, and then there’s bleak Irish. The first act of Flora and Son is bleak.
But then Flora finds a cast-off guitar in the trash and decides to salvage it as a belated birthday gift for her son. When he rejects it, a different kind of story begins to unfold, one that’s far more enchanting.
“I want to write a song that reaches millions of people’s hearts and makes them weep,” Flora confesses to her new guitar instructor, Jeff (Gordon-Levitt), via zoom.
“Making people cry is not an achievement,” he responds. “Bullies do it every day.”
Instead, he inspires something else in Flora. The razor-sharp Irish wit, the teenage Dubliners’ attempts at rap stardom, and the unlikely connection between the leads carry the story to places you’re not expecting, and you might just find yourself writing down some of the lines, googling for online music lessons, or plotting a trip to Topanga Canyon. You’ll see.
If you’re expecting Sing Street or Once, you might be a bit disappointed. Edgier than its Irish musical predecessors, the poignancy of Flora and Son has more to do with parent-child relationships. But the ways that music can stir, transform, and entwine us all truly inspire.
…the film Once. While it was the first in John Carney’s musical dramas, released in 2007, it delivers the song and the love story that Flora and Son seems to be building towards.
If your name is Bono, get your people to deliver an edited version. Baby daughter Eve earned many talents from you and her rock star life upbringing, and some of her seduction techniques go beyond stadium-sellout level.