Flower And Garnet

Flower And Garnet


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

A hospital floor being polished by an unseen cleaner. A clock. A near-empty nursery seen through a glass divide. A baby in its cot.

Cold, clinical and somehow quintessentially Canadian, it's little surprise when the montage continues with a funeral.

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Ed's wife has just died giving birth to a son, Garnet, one of those "10,000 to one" occurrences that, alas, happen with disproportionate frequency in the cinema.

Distraught, Ed (Callum Keith Rennie) is unable to accept the child, so it is up to his eight-year-old daughter Flower (Jane McGregor / Alisha Penev) to bring the infant home.

Eight years later, the situation has scarcely improved. Deprived of paternal affection and brought up largely by his sibling, Garnet (Colin Roberts) has grown into a confused young boy.

Flower tries to persuade her father to take more interest, but the combination of an uncommunicative, hypersensitive son and an emotionally crippled, straightforwardly macho father, trying to overcompensate in making up for lost time, is hardly an auspicious one - especially when Flower herself falls pregnant by one of the local lads (Craig Olejnik) and no longer has the capacity to care for Garnet, or act as mediator, as hitherto she has done.

The film combines the beauty and fragility of a flower with the fine craftsmanship of a cut and polished gemstone. Writer/director Keith Behrman's care and attention is evident throughout, letting small details and gestures accumulate, drawing finely nuanced and believable performances from his cast and managing to engage on both intellectual and emotional levels.

If there is a flaw, it's that the script may be almost too subtle for some. Also, there are moments of comic relief from resident stoner Ronnie (Dov Tiefenbach - admittedly a nice self-deprecating performance) that feel a touch forced and bolted on.

Overall, this is a quietly confident piece of filmmaking that accomplishes what it sets out to do and which augurs well for the futures of all involved.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2004
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A boy is brought up by his sister after being rejected by dad.

Director: Keith Behrman

Writer: Keith Behrman

Starring: Callum Keith Rennie, Jane McGregor, Alisha Penev, Colin Roberts, Dov Tiefenbach, Kristen Thomson, Craig Olejnik

Year: 2002

Runtime: 103 minutes

Country: Canada


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