Ireland | 2022 Director: John Carney
Filmmaker John Carney returns to Sundance Film Festival showcasing another delightful feature film with FLORA AND SON. Carney creates fascinating narratives using scripted and non-scripted dialogue with music, comedy, and drama. His style of storytelling is all about life because it's messy. Carney adds a bit of comedy, romance, and drama into the mix and his narrative is relatable.
Carney has an incredible sixth sense in choosing those actors who will fulfill the message of his story. This is only one key component to his success and his audience is never disappointed.
Flora (Eve Hewson) is a young, brash, single mom, raising her teenage son, Max (Oren Kinlan) to the best of her abilities; but struggles to understand him. Living in Dublin and co-parenting with her self-consumed ex-husband (Jack Reynor) brings no comfort to Flora that Max will survive his awkward teen years with much integrity. Flora's worst nightmare is that Max will choose the wrong associations and a life path unbecoming.
Flora can barely make ends meet and desires a better life for herself, as well as for Max. Flora's love for Max is unwavering but she doesn't know how to achieve a better life for them in the social class they rest.
The mother-son relationship is strained. Flora and Max struggle to find their passion, independence and self-expression. About the only passion the two experience is their banter and harsh rapport with one another that doesn't produce much happiness.
Flora recalls aspirations she once had to develop her musical talent prior to being a wife and mother. Flora purchases a used guitar for Max for his birthday. She is confident that Max will be intrigued with the gift and desirous to learn to play the instrument. Max is disappointed that Flora would make such an assumption and rejects her gift with disdain.
Flora is heartbroken but truly understands. Her attempt to guide Max to explore new things seems to be a lost cause. Flora can't let the gift go to waste, so she finds a guitar teacher (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) online to teach her the instrument. The California based guitarist finds it challenging to teach the Dublin based Flora because of her overbearing personality but the lessons continue. Max takes notice. He sees his mom joyful and positively different. Max takes interest. The once discarded gift has unifying power for Flora and Max and where music abounds so does love.