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Flower and Garnet, the first feature-length film by B.C. director Keith
Behrman, is the powerful story of a broken family that is forced to confront
problems that have gone on for too many years. The film shows the effect of
a father's unexpressed grief on his eight-year old son, Garnet (Colin
Roberts), whose mother died giving him birth. Set in the rural Cache Creek
area in British Columbia, Canada, it is a subtle and deeply moving portrait
of a family that lives in an emotional no-man's land. The father Ed (Callum
Keith Rennie) is uncommunicative with both his family and his ladyfriend
Barb (Kristen Thomson). Constantly downing cans of beer, he only relates to
the boy with silence, self-hatred, and sudden explosions of violence. He
tries to school him in typical macho activities, taking him fishing,
driving, and shooting on an improvised pistol range, but is unable to
provide any real love or understanding.
The years have turned Garnet into a sullen withdrawn child. Vancouver actor Colin Roberts, who received a Genie nomination for Best Actor for his first acting performance, is so natural as Garnet that you can literally hear his thoughts and feel his feelings above the long, awkward silences. Ed tries to right things by giving Garnet a BB gun for his birthday but he uses it to take out his aggression on animals. When his beautiful 16-year old sister Flower (Jane McGregor) has an affair with local teen Carl (Craig Olejnik) and becomes pregnant, Ed compounds the problem by forcing her out of the house. The loss of his sister plus an anticipated rival for his sister's affections pushes Garnet close to the edge. The final breakthrough is so unsuspected that it comes with a sudden jolt.
Flower and Garnet is a gritty movie that, I think, captures aspects of small town Canadian life perfectly. That is not to say that every Canadian family is as dysfunctional as Ed's family. But this movie is an engaging drama. It holds itself unique than other family melodrama's in that it does not suck. Granted, the movie is very sublime and there is not much in the way of action or direct conflict but the turmoil of Ed's family is expertly conveyed through stunning performances of the lead actors. Callum Keith Rennie is great, as par for his career, Jane Macgregor, who plays Flower, turns in a solid performance. However the person who really shines through is Colin Roberts in the role of Garnet. The story centers around and is seen through the eyes of eight-year old Garnet. Colin carries the movie effortlessly on his shoulders, never once betraying a false moment. If you need one reason to see this film, it would be to watch this kid struggle through confusion and loss as he tries desperately to cope with his family dynamics.
If you want a little background information on this film, read the
other users' comments. I am just going to explain my view on this movie
Overall, it has spectacular cinematography. It deals with grippingly real issues. You are able to connect with and understand the characters. The actors are really perfect for their roles - individually and as a family (played by Callum Keith Rennie, Jane McGregor, and Colin Roberts).
All in all, I appreciate that I got to see the film. It is definitely an improvement from mainstream media that is constantly coming out. (Not to say there isn't any good mainstream movies, I'm just saying this in a general sense).
Beware for those of you with short attention spans! (I blame the fast-paced mainstream media, he he). I mean, I am also a little impatient but I didn't find myself squirming even once! It had my full focus and attention. You will feel for the story.
I recommend it for just about anyone (more so those who are in their mid-teens and up).
If you are into the art of film, you will appreciate seeing "Flower & Garnet".
I didn't have any high expectations for this film, because I knew
absolutely zero about it at the time. I had no idea what to expect, but
it caught my interest right away with the beginning scene. I loved how
at the beginning when you don't know what's going on at all, but you
slowly learn more and more as you keep watching. This is one of those
movies that has numerous layers to it, and the way it goes about
telling the story is expertly done.
For a film that's about simple, everyday life, it was very climatic at the end, and very realistic. You'll never see another film like it. It's breathtaking. Not in the way you would think either, but that's partly what is most unique about it.
This film is getting a lot of press in Vancouver. This is not only because it is locally made, but also because it is very well executed. I was tempted to dismiss it as just another Canadian slice-of-life film. It is that, but it is a superb example of the genre. The characters grew on me and a lot is communicated from the looks on their faces. This film is worth seeing, even if you're not Canadian.
Ed (Callum Keith Rennie) has trouble dealing with the death of his wife
from childbirth and accepting the baby boy Garnet. The older sister
Flower becomes his mother figure. Eight years later, Carl (Craig
Olejnik) gets 16 year old Flower (Jane McGregor) pregnant. Ed doesn't
take the news well and neither does Carl.
It's a quiet little Canadian indie. It's a little too quiet. Ed's emotional detachment permeates the entire movie. It's written and directed by Keith Behrman. It needs a more imaginative cinematic style. It also needs more energy. Callum Keith Rennie is a very good actor. The kid is fine but he's just a kid and not really an actor. Jane McGregor puts in a reasonable performance. There is a compelling family within this quiet little movie. However the movie doesn't have enough energy.
Flower and Garnet are siblings. Flower is 16, and Garnet us 8 years
old, and very different. Their mother died giving birth to Garnet,
something their father has never come over. So Garnet has never gotten
the love he should from either a mother nor a father. If it hadn't been
for the affection from his sister, he had experienced being loved at
all. Still he has feelings even towards ants, which he can imagine have
feelings too. If no emotionally detached, he is still a quite, strange
This is a strong, emotional story and beautifully woven drama about a dysfunctional family. Not only is the mother gone, but so is in fact th father. A father which is disconnected from his son, maybe not able to love the son, maybe in some way blaming him for being the reason for the pregnancy death. He is told by his new girlfriend that he is too selfish to love any other. When he finally gets around to give his son a gift on his birthday, not picked out by the sister, he buys Garnet a BB-gun.
The film is realistically told, in a slow manner. Still this doesn't more than add to the situation which is following the thoughts of Garnet. Well played by all, and therefore well instructed by the director, this being the first feature film by Keith Behrmann after a few shorts.
Tension rides high in this film. There's a certain bad feel of what's going to happen here. If that kind of a film. Still this makes out an important nerve of the film. Well worth watching if you're not expecting an action flick.
Vancouver writer/director Keith Behrman has a feel for small town life.
It's there in every frame of this finely crafted drama about a
dysfunctional family living in Cache Creek, in the British Columbia
interior. That's right, dysfunctional, it's a five dollar word meaning
these folks have a lot of problems. The father, Ed (Callum Keith
Rennie) has been having an empty affair with a local woman (Kristin
Thomsen) who deserves better. The man has kept his emotions in cold
storage since his wife died eight years ago while giving birth to
Garnet (Colin Roberts). Deep down inside he blames his son for the
tragedy. That's a heavy burden for a kid to bear and it shows in his
sad eyes. Garnet may not talk much but he's thinking all the time. He's
especially curious about nature, the whole cycle of birth and death
going on around him. (Reminds me of young Brian in W.O. Mitchell's
classic Canadian novel "Who Has Seen the Wind") Garnet's sister, Flower
(Jane McGregor), who is eight years older, has been like a mom to him.
Now, after a fling with an irresponsible local Romeo, she's about to
have a child of her own. Naturally, Ed flips out, afraid history is
gonna repeat itself. There's a bitter argument. Flower moves out. Left
to his own devices Garnet begins to "act out" in increasingly creepy
ways. I could picture this kid showing up at school with a rifle in a
few years. The movie shows the circumstances that can lead up to it.
I'm not saying he will. In fact, the people in this film rarely do what
you expect them to do. The movie takes its time about revealing its
mysteries. The clues come in looks and gestures, bits of dialogue, an
accumulation of seemingly unremarkable details. (This movie is not for
short attention spans.) It's like being in a strange town. It takes
awhile to get the lay of the land and meet the neighbours. Behrman
proves to be an astute observer of human behaviour and he has pulled
some wonderfully restrained performances from his cast. This may be
Rennie's best work to date. And that's saying a lot. If you've seen
Hard Core Logo or Suspicious River you already know his range. Roberts
is a real find and based on her work here McGregor should really stop
wasting her talent in piffle like 2002's Slap Her
Behrman makes good use of landscape to define character and sustain mood. The remoteness of the rural BC locations echoes the emotional isolation of the central characters. Growing up in the small Saskatchewan farming community of Shaunavon has obviously given him a special appreciation for the stark visual poetry in those wide open spaces. Judging from his feature film debut the sky is the limit.
This film rivals the Swedish film My Life as a Dog. Seen through a young boy's eyes, in each case, a boy struggles to understand what the adults around them are doing. Everyone deals with grief and loss in unique ways. Colin Roberts's young, expressive features carry the entire film. I cannot agree with those who wrote about this film to complain about a slow pace. Admittedly, one needs to have a better attention span than is required by films depicting wholesale violence and vast destruction. ---The destruction and restoration of the individual spirit are equally important in contrast to the usual, blank destruction of sets, buildings, bridges, fires and explosions of empty action films. Flower and Garnet unfolds inexorably at an artistic pace that is right for this story. It is a film that should be seen and will last.
A beautifully observed film. Elegant, calm, composed and real. I hope
this guy gets to make more movies.
The performances in this film are so complete. The young Callum Keith Rennie is quite outstanding as the son of a man unable to connect, unable to reach out and touch his son. Jane McGegor deserves to have a fabulous career and I have no doubt she will find her way to big things. She is a beautiful young actress with real range. I found this movie way after the event, and I hope many other people discover it to. It is well worth it. I have to have ten lines I've said enough No wonder people write so much rubbish on these notice boards I have to make it up to ten line I have tried all ways of getting to the end with flashes lines and stars. I've said enough already but have to keep going so that the bloody computer will take what I thought would be a simple line review.
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