Flora and Son

September 29, 202380/1005 min
Starring
Eve Hewson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Orén Kinlan, Jack Reynor
Written by
John Carney
Directed by
John Carney
Run Time
1h 37min
Release Date
September 29th, 2023
Overall Score
Rating Summary

As a teenager, I would listen to music and create mixtapes that I would give to a girl to convey my feelings. I did this because music has a way of speaking to you and connecting with everyone differently. We’ve all had that song that just resonates personally, as if it’s speaking directly to us. However, music isn’t the only medium capable of this; many of us have also experienced a film that feels like it’s ripped a page out of our own lives. Then there’s a John Carney film that hits you in all the right ways, both visually and aurally, and always manages to make you feel all warm inside.

Flora (Eve Hewson) has always defied people’s expectations. She left school at a young age, by 17 was pregnant, and chose to ignore advice to get an abortion. Fourteen years later, she and her son Max (Orén Kinlan) have a tumultuous relationship that doesn’t align with their individual aspirations. Flora yearns to reclaim the life she feels she missed by becoming a mother too soon, while Max is on a journey to discover his identity, albeit through questionable means. Flora wants to nurture Max’s passion for music and buys him a guitar. Initially uninterested, Max eventually sparks Flora’s decision to learn to play herself. This choice leads her to meet Jeff (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a man in Los Angeles who offers guitar lessons for $20. Through these lessons, Flora and Jeff form a connection that inspires music and emotions in both of them.

However, this isn’t just another romantic musical; it’s another John Carney romance centered on music. There’s something about a John Carney film that can be best described as a warm hug accompanied by catchy music. Carney has a knack for having his characters bare their souls in a way that never feels scripted; instead, it’s like you’re witnessing someone’s real life realization. While Carney’s previous films, such as Once, Sing Street, and Begin Again, were filled with music, Flora and Son is lacking in that aspect. However, it’s not about how you start; it’s about how you finish. In the case of Flora and Son, Carney delivers one of his most satisfying conclusions.

I won’t hide it—I’m a big Carney fan. Most of his music soundtracks have been on constant repeat since they were released. Flora and Son adds another song to that playlist and delivers yet another cinematic gem. It’s one of those crowd-pleasing films that has a unique ability to leave you feeling better than when you walked in, especially thanks to its heartwarming conclusion that will undoubtedly bring a smile to your face and get your feet tapping. It’s exactly what I needed, and I can assure you that no matter what your mood was before watching Flora and Son, by the end it will have your spirit soaring.

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