Combine the rawness of the movie “Thirteen” with the dark essence of “Jawbreaker” and you get “Flower,” the hilarious and twisted 2017 TriBeCa Film Festival film noir with Zoey Deutch, Kathryn Hahn and Adam Scott, which had its debut. Directed by Max Winkler (Ceremony), the dark comedy shines thanks to brilliant performances from Hahn and Deutch and unique and unpredictable storyline.
The film’s opening scene surprises with an unexpected, obscenity that digs into a deep, dysfunctional, teenage path- the struggle of a single mother, Laurie (Hahn) with her new boyfriend Bob (Tim Heidecker) and his fresh out of rehab son, Luke (Joey Morgan). The chaotic life of Erica becomes even more frenetic when an innocent joke turns into a nightmare that brings two middle-pubescent teenagers closer together. The challenges of friendship, family, and love are strongly intertwined and smoothly transition from being emotionally disturbed, to laughing out loud.
Wild child, Erica plans her days by scheming older guys to pay her for sexual favors. Her two best friends always in close distance filming each scenario for blackmail purposes, in case the deal doesn’t go as planned. To keep track of her “hobby,” Erica keeps detailed notes of her encounters and her income, which she saves to bail-out her incarcerated father. Although her father is mentioned sparsely throughout, Erica’s love and dedication towards him are undeniable. Overwhelmed, Laurie doesn’t know much about her daughter’s free time activities, except her artistic-adult-themed-drawing book that she occasionally finds in the bathroom.
The mother-daughter bond between Laurie and Erica is strangely unique and resembles rather a friendship, instead of an authority or mother figure. Laurie would oftentimes call Erica “Mama,” which underlines the dysfunctional household and its weirdness. Hahn, who usually finds herself in quirky and awkward roles, like do-or-dare “Carla” in the recent comedy “Bad Moms,” next to Mila Kunis, fits the role of Laurie like a glove. Her delivery comes with such confidence and comfortability.
Overall, “Flower” resembles the importance of parenting and how hard it is to be a single parent, but also the struggles of being a teenager trying to understand life and its circumstances. It’s similar to “White Girl” and “Thirteen” because it shows different extremes what people do for love and the cry for attention, yet it keeps its own way of cinematography. It nails to capture the beauty of childish innocence with the consequences of adulthood.