Movie Review: Flower

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Flower isn’t what you think it is based on the title. There is nothing pretty about the life of Erica, played wonderfully by my personal favorite actress Zoey Deutch, I’m biased, so what? The film labels itself as a comedy, but there are a lot more labels that can be attached to it if so desired. It’s dark, funny, thrilling, suspenseful and serious during various stages from start to finish. What makes this movie worth seeing then?


It’s about a teenage girl named Erica (Deutch) trying to deal with the hand that life dealt her. Her father is in prison. Her mother’s boyfriend moved in with the family and is now bringing along his mentally unstable son to live with them. Sounds like a peachy life. Not to mention that Erica is subjected to and subjects herself to some harsh life situations. To get you prepared, the opening scene of her giving oral sex to a local cop is any indication. You clearly know what you’re in for from the start. These characters have no limits and the movie doesn’t hold back at all.



My affinity for Deutch has been noted by anyone who has spoken to me. She’s a fabulous actress. Not only is she stunning, but she’s she possesses the three r’s: relatable, raw and real. In many ways she has all the potential and talent to be the next brakeout star, such as Saoirse Ronan. She can do it all.

In Flower, Deutch takes upon one of her more challenging characters to date. Erica is a lost soul that’s searching for comfort in all the wrong places. She means well, but has no idea how to go about doing the right thing. In a sense she’s grown up too quick, without actually growing up. She’s been exposed to life’s ugly side and partakes in it, only due to her circumstances and fueling her own inner fire. Erica is snappy, boisterous, uncensored and loyal to her friends and mother. She’s very charming and convincing also. To emit that inner struggle while display the outward strength is a difficult feat for any actor to portray. Not only does Deutch manage that, she succeeds flawlessly in doing it.


The two other characters of importance to note, are the mother Laurie, played by Kathryn Hahn and Luke the unstable stepbrother played by Joey Morgan. First, when it comes to Hahn, a widely recognizable comedic actress takes a turn to play a serious character. Laurie tries hard to be the best mom, but she’s stuck in trying to be a mother while being and acting like a best friend to her daughter. This tough balance leaves her in a middle ground of questionable parenting. Hahn brings this character lots of life. She’s relatable as a modern imperfect parent. She’s had a rough life, it’s evident even though there is little to no mention of it. Hahn also brings this coolness to the character that makes her fun and takes away any semblance of being boring and uninteresting.

As far as Morgan’s character Luke goes, he’s the key to the film. Morgan does wonderful work keeping an even keel when his character is surrounded by much more dominant and authoritative personalities. Luke is hard to read initially, but blossoms as the movie moves along, sort of like, a flower.


There is nothing special that stands out to to note with the music. When it comes to the visuals, it certainly noticeable with the lens filters they used. It’s this bright sepia-like color lens that not only brightens the look of the movie, but it gives it an yellowish tint. It’s noticeable when you see it. Now, I don’t know if it has any correlation with the theme of the movie of a bright yellow flower and the whole blossoming and keeping it bright aspect, but it could be. If not, then I’m just really reaching for things. It’s a unique look to say the least.


It sure was compelling. This is a fascinating character study. Of young adolescence that rebels and for the most point is doing misguided sense of belief and understanding. Director Max Winker, yes he’s The Fonz’s son, depicts a story that’s not the typical coming of age. It actually is more of a coming out of age. What I mean by that is that the characters are almost too grown up for their own good and they need to reel back and have a sense of what it’s like to be a kid. A process that Winkler illustrates as the movie develops.


It’s one of these films that has you anticipating what the next scene will bring and what these wild teens will do next. I never found myself bored at any point. Sure, there were some cringeworthy moments, especially the sex ones, but the plot has some unexpected turns that lead to a more suspenseful conclusion.


Most definitely it is. This film has a no-bullshit sense about it. It’s in your face attitude and lets it all out. The depiction of this damaged family is a lot more realistic than the idealistic families that tend to be portrayed in film. It’s the real world look into what American family of 2018 is in many cases. Non-perfect, struggling, making ends meet, trying to find and show love, but struggling to do so. Delving into dark waters to attain a necessity, such as money. Ultimately the movie blossoms and does justice to the title.


  • It’s paints an authentic portrait of American family life.
  • Deutch is tremendous in her role.
  • Intriguing, mysterious unapologetic.


  • Some of the sexual stuff can be off-putting, especially involving teens
  • Lacked some background story to insert to explain why Erica and her mother do what they do and how they ended up there. Also, it would explain the connection Erica has to her father.

VERDICT: Overall, this is a really interesting good film with terrific performances, especially from Deutch. It has turns that keep things exciting till the very end.

  • GENRE: Comedy
  • RUNTIME: 1 hr 30 min
  • RELEASE DATE: March 23, 2018


Landmark Century
Zoey Deutch, Max Winkler
Joe Swanberg
Start time
7:35 PM
Q&A time
9:00 PM
3/23/2018 Chicago Cinemark Evanston 18 Zoey Deutch, Max Winkler Moderator
10:15 PM 11:45 PM
3/24/2018 Chicago Landmark Century Zoey Deutch, Max Winkler Moderator
5:00 PM 6:40 PM
3/24/2018 Chicago AMC River East Zoey Deutch, Max Winkler Moderator
7:00 PM 8:30 PM

About Post Author

Jim Alexander

Jim Alexander hails from Chicago where he started his journalism career as a film critic and founder of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle (CIFCC). He's a Rotten Tomatoes approved critic. Jim founded Reel Talker as a platform to share his love of movies and entertainment. Jim's favorite part of being a journalist is getting to meet and interview actors, filmmakers and entertainers. Jim is a host and on-camera personality for AfterBuzz TV. Aside from his work with Reel Talker, he's the site owner of the Bachelor Universe website, where he recaps and talks about all this ABC's 'The Bachelor'. He also runs the Reel Talker Podcast that can be found on iTunes. In his free time he enjoys attending sports events and playing in recreational leagues.
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