Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Petals on the Wind

Petals on the Wind ~ When Lifetime did Flowers in the Attic and it was even a little bit successful, it was pretty much guaranteed they would do a sequel... especially when there's one tailor made as part of the book series it based on. I should note however this was given a green light before Flowers even aired. That's how sure Lifetime was of the source material. So here's Petals on the Wind, which was just as popular as Flowers back in the day, but didn't have a crappy movie version to tarnish it. Let's see how good or bad the Lifetime treatment is.

Just as Flowers artfully used a cover of "Sweet Child o' Mine" to promote it, Petals similarly uses a cover of Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight," a song that was actually around when the book came out, and intros the movie almost as if this was a series rather than movies. Is it? "Last time on Flowers in the Attic..." makes me wonder. Not that I would mind a well done TV series...

It begins ten years after Flowers, and the children have been recast. I guess the shooting schedule for the final season of "Mad Men" might interfered possibly for Kiernan Shipka. And while the book picks up immediately after Flowers, the movie is a decade later, necessitating older actors. Chicken or the egg here, I have to wonder what came first - time shift or recasting? Either way, Rose McIver as Cathy is a weak sister to Kiernan Shipka.

The ten year jump that begins at Paul Sheffield's funeral does happily evade the creepy doctor character who adopted the children and tried to marry Cathy. Sometimes gothic romance and horror take a left turn into soap opera so bizarre, it really is better left forgotten. Not that a story that centers on incest isn't already inappropriately creepy... but you know what I mean. Good move, Lifetime.

The sad news is however that all of the rest of this seems very forced. From Cathy's abusive relationship with Julian to Carrie being bullied at school, and on top of it all is Heather Graham and Ellen Burstyn's characters being shoehorned roughly into the story. I had a lot of trouble with Burstyn especially after literally just watching her brilliant comedic turn on "Louie" just before this.

Will Kemp is great as Julian, Cathy's husband in the book, boyfriend here, as long as you stop visualizing him as Starsky from "Starsky and Hutch," a comparison that gets difficult when you see his car. Rose McIver is no Shipka as I mentioned but she is certainly as hatable as Cathy should be. She deserves what she gets in so many ways. This was okay, not as good as Flowers, but a suitable sequel. The over the top revenge ending is well worth the two hour watch.

Lifetime has already announced plans to do the next two books in the Dollanganger series by V.C. Andrews, If There Be Thorns and Seeds of Yesterday in 2015, but there's been no word about the fifth and final installment, Garden of Shadows, probably because the ads refer to Seeds as the final installment. Interesting.

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