Flowers in the Attic

Flowers in the Attic


Based on V.C. Andrews’ controversial, cult classic book, Flowers in the Attic tells the story of the Dollanganger kids who, after the unexpected death of their father, are convinced to stay hidden in the attic of their ruthless Grandmother.


The Lifetime channel has long been associated with programming geared towards women, a distinction they wear as a badge of honor. It was announced that they were remaking Flowers in the Attic without much excitement, save for the fans of the book. Unlike the horrendous all African-American abomination that they foisted the holy name of Steel Magnolias on, this one at least seems to have some promise, but does it deliver?

What is this about?

This chilly drama chronicles the fate of four siblings confined in their grandparents’ attic and abused daily after the children’s father dies. As the two older kids grow up, they begin looking for a way to escape their nightmare world.

What did I like?

Not shy. I haven’t seen the previous incarnations of the film on screen (big or small), but it is my understanding that neither film actually covered the topic that is a predominant theme in the book, which is incest. Part of the reason for this is that these films were released in a more conservative (read=squeamish) time, as opposed to today where you can do just about anything, except smoke, but that’s a topic for another day. The fact that they did manage to cover the topic and do it effectively with such young talent is quite impressive.

A couple of winners. Ellen Burstyn delivers a chilling performance that is sure to get some attention when this film is up for awards nomination. As the strict, overbearing, super-religious grandmother of these children, she commands your attention whenever she’s on the screen and scares the children in a way that reminds you of the nuns from American Horror Story: Asylum. Also delivering an impressive performance is young Kiernan Shipka, who may best be known as Sally Draper from Mad Men. I recall an early episode where she told her Dad, who has just been getting kinky with his girl of the night the night before, that she would just sit there and be quiet. The way she said it and the impact it had on that uncomfortable scene came to mind as I was watching her in this role. Not quite star material, in my opinion, but she does have some chops that are worth mentioning.

What didn’t I like?

Graham. For some reason, I was not able to buy Heather Graham as a mother. As a shallow, gold digger, who has no skills other than being a trophy, yes, but not a mother. Adding to her unbelievability is the fact that she is so wooden and emotionless, even in the parts where she is supposed to show a bit of emotion. There are times where is seems as if she is just reading the phone book. I like Heather Graham and applaud her for trying to take on something serious, but this just wasn’t the right fit for her.

Frail. After all the time the kids spent in the attic with little to no food, it seems to me that they should have been withering away. Instead, they look just about as fresh faced as they were when they got there. Perhaps the most evident is the eldest boy, played by Mason Dye, who is a strapping young lad who looks as if he is some type of athlete. I almost want to say that he gets bigger during his locked away. How is that possible?!?

For a TV movie, Flowers in the Attic isn’t half bad. While it didn’t blow me away, this heavy drama kept my attention from beginning to end, which is something extremely hard to do. Do I recommend this? Eh…I suppose, but for me, I can’t say that I’ll be moving my schedule around to watch. Not because this is a bad film, but it just isn’t my cup of tea. Ultimately, this is one of those films that you need to give a watch and make your own decision about. So, see what you decide, eh?

3 3/4 out of 5 stars


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