Genevieve Valentine (glvalentine) wrote,

Flowers in the Attic



I've been spending some time with TV about family this month at the AV Club! Some of them are sincere, often-lovely attempts to portray the complexities of trying to make a family work, like The Fosters, which made a bold call on its return from hiatus and shifted a main character to a group home for what looks like several episodes, expanding the definition of family. This has the potential to be a really great show; I always enjoy my time with it, and hope it doesn't suffer the ABC Family fate that awaits all the shows of theirs I like, which is one season of glory and then the abyss.

But I also got to see Flowers in the Attic, and that's really why we're here.

I actually found this movie more fascinating than it might deserve, if only because it demonstrates that sometimes camp isn't a choice, but a necessity. You cannot peel away the camp factor of Flowers in the Attic; if you do, you are left with ninety minutes of awkward shuffling punctuated by the firebrand that is Ellen Burstyn. (The chance to Grandmother's characterization was a genius way to shift the tensions in a story as well-known and inevitable as this one has become, and Burstyn's makes for a fascinating character study, but that doesn't do much for the rest of the movie, unfortunately; she's in a bottle all her own.)

That doesn't mean it's unwatchable. It just means that, from the high-school-play blocking to the realization that the main characters are acting on at least three different frequencies – you can't, you guys, sometimes you all have to decide on a style and a commitment level and this is one of those times – it creates a quiet vortex of awkwardness that starts out pretty painful. However, depending on your awkwardness threshold for things like this, it ends up accidentally kind of hypnotic as you watch Kiernan Shipka's procession of haircuts shade her doleful stare, Mason Dye Dollenganger his heart out, Heather Graham attempt to imitate a human woman, and Ellen Burstyn occasionally visit them from another dimension.

What I'm saying is, see you for the liveblog Saturday.
Tags: av club, reviews, tv
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