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Different Flowers (2017) - Movie Review

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Different Flowers - Movie Review

4 stars

The white wedding dress.  The fake eyelashes.  The suffocating mother.  The orchestra.  And the guests.  All those guests and they are waiting – expecting even – a beautiful, flower-lined ceremony featuring a union between a bride and a groom.  But that’s not going to happen.  Even if it features a keg of tasty Boulevard beer, that is just not going to happen.  Different Flowers, thankfully, is not that type of movie.  This is a female-centered film about, of all things, the freedom of the open road as two distant sisters embark on an adventure that is usually reserved for the fellas. 

Thank the Goddess for the unique and authentic vision of director Morgan Dameron because this film, equal parts comedy and a family drama, is certainly a blessing to anyone who enjoys a good story.  The chemistry shared by its two lead actresses is a flavored one and, as there is a subtle complexity to its notes, makes for a rather good swirl and sip.  Dameron, who grew up spending summers at her grandparents' farm in Moberly, MO, represents Kansas City well.  Her ability to create a mood made magnificent with the merging of photography and people is admirable. 

Different Flowers IS about a runaway bride as you might have guessed, yet within the threads that make up this bride’s gown is a tangled narrative about what it means to be a woman who refuses to sacrifice herself.  It is the ultimate FREAK OUT moment – best represented here by a shift in focus from the bride to her sister and back to the bride in a mutually understood moment of  pre-wedding doubt – that isn’t dismissed by simple fight or flight scenarios.  No, much of Different Flowers is as honest as it is heartfelt.

Different Flowers, with performances from Emmy-winning actress, Shelley Long (CheersModern Family) and Rob Mayes (Mistresses and the new CW Fall series Frequency, which premieres in October), is a wedding-themed family dramedy that is, in fact, worthy of envy; every beat – whether humorous or emotional – sticks with you.  And the female perspective running throughout this film sheds light on the realities many women face when at the crossroads of this modern life.

In it, Millie (Emma Bell, The Walking Dead) decides against mapping out the expected path toward a successful experience as a 30-year-old and leaves her groom, Charlie (Sterling Knight, Mackenzie Fall) by hopping into a red jeep named Albert.  Albert belongs to her free-spirited sister, Emma (Hope Lauren, Supergirl) and Emma – with a t-shirt style that matures her striking looks – is all about the good time Millie needs – at least she hopes that she is.

Complete with solid roadside attractions, a spirited sense of itself, and an earnest story about connecting with what really matters in this life, Dameron manages to capture the Midwest and the people who populate its small towns as more than just caricatures.  It’s about time, too.  If Alexander Payne’s Sideways was for the boys, then Different Flowers gives us the female perspective of life and second chances. 

Along the way, we get the expected looks at the World’s Largest Ball of Twine and the World’s Largest Goose as the two girls journey through the Heartland.  But something strange happens along the way to Millie’s reawakening.  Mixed in with the expected roadside travel montages is a candid revelation about individuals and their identities.  We are permanently and inexplicably intertwined with our surroundings.  Statements like this aren’t usually expected from comedies.    

And what better surrounding scenery is there to guide eager hearts than the green and wave-like flatlands that connects Missouri to Kansas?  Full of an endless sea of jade-colored pastures, Millie and Emma are captains of the road.  With chance encounters along the way and a twist on the expected destination, the two sisters in this voyage develop an unexpected bond and that becomes their mast. 

“Ladies and Gentlemen.  There’s been a change of plans.” With those words ushered by a nervous guest in front of a cold microphone, Millie lets it be known that something powerful has been set into motion.  The thing is, she’s been drifting for quite some time.  It’s just that a wedding had to shine a light for everyone else but her sister to notice.  And her sister came prepared.

Different Flowers is a female-centered road trip through the Heartland of America and it, my friends, is an empowering and refreshing sight to witness.  The film will be showing at Kansas City AMC Barrywoods 24 & AMC Town Center 20, September 29 – October 5.  Tickets are available now.

Different Flowers - Movie Review

 MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some suggestive content.
Runtime: 99 mins
Director: Morgan Dameron
Writer: Morgan Dameron
Cast: Steve Agee, Cecelia Antoinette, Emma Bell
Genre: Comedy
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Official Site:
Release Date: February 2, 2017 (Santa Barbara Film Festival)
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
Synopsis: When Millie, a sensible bride-to-be, bolts moments before her big Midwestern wedding with the help of her free-spirited younger sister, Emma, she embarks on a life-changing journey neither of them expected.

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Different Flowers - Movie Review

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