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Flora and Son Review: Eve Hewson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt Star in a Thoroughly Enjoyable Family Drama


Flora and Son Review: This musical-comedy-drama film is written and directed by John Carney, with cinematography by John Conroy, music composed by Gary Clark and John Carney and stars Eve Hewson, Jack Reynor, Orén Kinlan, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and others. The movie has a runtime of 97 minutes.

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Flora and Son Plot

Finding herself at her wit’s end, thanks to her teenage son’s rebellious phase, Flora is encouraged by the police to find him a hobby so that he doesn’t get into unnecessary problems. Desperate, she finds him an old guitar and an LA-based online guitar teacher, both of which change the mother and son’s lives forever.

– Flora and Son Review Does Not Contain Spoilers –

Flora and Son Review

Irish director John Carney’s Flora and Son is just as the title suggests; it’s about a mother and son realising how deeply they are and forever will be connected in spite of their differences. It’s a sweet and sometimes difficult exploration into that relationship which in itself is a complex thread of emotions and responsibilities.

flora and son review

When we start the movie off, Max and Flora’s relationship is strained, thanks to how dysfunctional both of Max’s parents are, which bleeds into their relationship with their son. As a result, Max is constantly acting out and chasing a feeling that he will probably get only from his home life. Flora is no better; it’s interesting to note how directionless she feels at first. I think a lot of people feel this way once they get into the parental role – it’s an overwhelming amount of responsibility that can take over anyone’s life.

However, Max and Flora’s lives improve when she puts her mind to something that draws her in, which, in turn, makes Max take things in his life seriously. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Jeff isn’t really the main character of the movie, and most of the time, he is on a screen, but he makes his presence known as he slowly creeps into Flora’s life and fills it with music, passion and something to look forward to. Music is the thread that ties all of the different relationships together.

Throughout the 97-minute runtime of the movie, music is the one language that everyone understands and opens up their lives to. It’s what ultimately saves both Flora and Max, as well as Jeff. These different relationships will draw you in as well, surely but steadily; all the characters start to change just a bit more than a minute prior. At first, you feel bad for all of these people who feel like they have given up on their lives. But, upon dedicating themselves to their passions and understanding themselves better, you see their eyes light up and their lives blossoming.

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flora and son review

Although I felt that the 97-minute runtime of Flora and Son leaves much to be wanted, and sometimes things seem very rushed, I guess you can come to your own conclusions about where these people go from here. If anything, I wouldn’t mind watching a short miniseries on these people and understanding them better because their characters are so relatable and emotionally charged that you want time to mull them over instead of rushing off to the next part of the mother and son’s lives.

In spite of its dysfunctional moments, the movie does manage to plaster a smile on our faces because Flora and Jeff’s bond, although quite rushed, feels really genuine. Gordon-Levitt’s Jeff seems like a really nice guy, and he expresses that so well that his eyes speak it. You want him and Flora to learn and grow together, and although we don’t get to see enough of their story in the short runtime, it’s still something to hold on to throughout the less-than-ideal parts of the storyline.

That being said, Jeff and Flora’s relationship isn’t the only one that will make you happy. Flora’s relationship with Max and how it strengthens and deepens will also leave your heart happy, especially because you have seen how horrible it was previously. That growth is great to watch since you do want them to realise their potential and find happiness, but again, I found the entire runtime to be a bit rushed to really explore the bond. However, whatever we did see, did bring out both of their characters and why they are the way that they are quite well.

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flora and son review

Eve Hewson is just so wonderful as Flora. She’s unabashedly and unapologetically herself, and Hewson brings her character out of her cocoon just when the story requires it. You will find yourself in her struggles here and there. As mentioned previously, Gordon-Levitt’s Jeff is mostly on the other side of the screen but still makes his presence felt in every moment. His kind and warm-hearted aura is a direct contrast to Flora’s, but it still meshes together quite well. The two have great chemistry. Jack Reynor, for some reason, again plays a selfish prick of a spouse in this movie, as if Midsommar wasn’t enough. Orén Kinlan is also great as Max and plays the teenage angst out well.

Flora and Son Review: Final Thoughts

In the end, Flora and Son is a hopeful and feel-good family drama about acceptance, love and finding your own passion. There’s something really engaging about the movie where everyone is constantly spouting profanities and heartwarming about people finding themselves and others.

Flora and Son will stream on Apple TV+ from September 29.

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