Day of the Flowers
John Roberts’ Day of the Flowers begins with Eva Birthistle’s immensely irritating Rosa trawling along the streets of Glasgow, campaigning naively against the perils of consumerism. In one of the film’s many clichés the small, blonde and scruffily dressed Rosa is interrupted by the arrival of her younger sister, Ailie (Charity Wakefield) who with her model-like proportions and fashionable attire could not be more different to Rosa. Announcing the death of their father, Ailie drives her sister to their stepmother’s (Phyllis Logan) house for the funeral. Surprisingly, this results in Rosa stealing her father’s ashes and hopping on a plane to Cuba to scatter them on the spot where he supposedly fell in love with their deceased mother. Her sister and fellow activist friend Conway (Bryan Dick) are in tow.
It is only once they are in Cuba that the film gets better. Falling foul of the law (and of each other) and realising that both their family history and Rosa’s romanticised image of Revolutionary Cuba are not really as they seem, the sisters’ trip begins to get more exciting.
Rather predictably the gap between the two sisters diminishes, with Rosa becoming less uptight, less naïve and more willing to let her guard down, and Ailie becoming less superficial and more sympathetic to her Cuban surroundings. Despite two-dimensional characters, periods of over-acting, and (at times) unbelievable twists in the narrative, there are some good points. These include moments of humour courtesy of Wakefield and an enchanting scene where Rosa’s love interest Tomas (Carlos Acosta) teaches ballet to a group of Cuban children. We are also presented with a thoroughly convincing baddie in the form of Ernesto (Christopher Simpson) – through whom we see the grim realities of the poverty-stricken country – and some really beautiful shots of Cuba in all its cultural vibrancy.
Thanks to an infectious soundtrack and stunning (although minor) performances by Acosta and Simpson, once you make it through the first half of the film Day of the Flowers becomes really rather enjoyable. Meanwhile, its message to live in the future and not dwell on the past is uplifting and somewhat empowering.
The editorial unit
Day of the Flowers is released nationwide on 29th November 2013.
Watch the trailer for Day of the Flowers here: