Flora and Son
There’s nothing more endearing in cinema than the feel-good combination of music and romance. Filmmaker John Carney has proven this with the likes of Once, Begin Again and Sing Street, and he once again demonstrates the strengths of the genre with Flora and Son. A selection of catchy tunes alongside a warm sense of humour makes for a wonderfully entertaining time.
The plot follows single mother Flora (a sensational Eve Hewson) who lives in a small flat in Dublin with her delinquent son Max (Orén Kinlan). When the police encourage the teenager to find a hobby, Flora fishes out a beat-up acoustic guitar from a skip for his birthday. But when he rejects the gift, Flora decides to take online lessons from a talented guitarist from LA (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). A spark of romance ignites between the pair, and Flora begins to connect with Max over their shared love of music.
Much like his other works, Carney’s latest film is imbued with a wry sense of humour that’s equal parts playful and charming, the bulk of which is found in Hewson’s ability to deliver lines with impeccable comedic timing and sharp wit. For all her character’s flaws (of which there are many), Hewson’s lively onscreen presence makes it impossible not to root for her throughout the entirety of the runtime.
At the core of this feature is a tender story about a mother and son mending their fractured relationship. Carey navigates these plot beats with care to create some genuinely heartwarming moments. However, this touching harmony is lost within the racket of everything else that’s going on within a script that gets increasingly cluttered. The movie develops a habit of establishing and abandoning plotlines whenever something new crops up in the protagonist’s life. Consequently, the long-distance relationship between Flora and her tutor becomes less relevant as the narrative goes on.
While the film attempts to salvage the dangling mess of plot threads with a final uplifting song, meant to demonstrate the power of music through collaboration, the slapdash nature of the climax nevertheless leaves a hollowness that no upbeat pop song can fill.
Hewson is the heart and soul of Flora And Son. However, Carney’s latest venture doesn’t shine as brightly as his previous outings.
Flora and Son is released on Apple TV+ on 29th September 2023.
Watch the trailer for Flora and Son here: