March 1, 2018

SCREEN | Zoey Deutch Gives Her 'Flower' x JFL NorthWest

"Smile, you're on candid camera, motherf*cker!"
Zoey Deutch Adam Scott Max Winkler | Flower

Flower, director Max Winkler's indie comedy/thriller starring Zoey Deutch as a promiscuous, vigilante teen, cannot help but feel like typical film festival fare. It's a decently well-made and constructed story centred on a truly electric starring performance full of little quirks and a leering darkness from its offbeat but audacious subject matter.

Alex McAulay, Matt Spicer, and Winkler's script focuses on Zoey's Erica who is introduced giving oral sex to a much older man in a position of power for money before attempting to blackmail him. Apparently, these acts are treated casually and cavalierly by her and her friends as they trek to Dairy Queen and the local bowling alley looking for fun and finding trouble.

Deutch is undeniably charismatic in a gutsy role and effortlessly adopts the mannerisms and body language of a confident teenager fleshing out the more troublesome aspects of her precocious character well. She's a star and this vehicle shows her range, empathy, and talents but not always in entirely successful ways.

Zoey Deutch Max Winkler | Flower

Joey Morgan provides a nice foil as Erica's equally troubled, anxiety-ridden, post-rehab stepbrother whom she befriends and influences to take vengeance in a sideways storyline that's entirely unexpected and somewhat confounding.

Alternatively, Kathryn Hahn, Tim Heidecker, and Adam Scott round out the comedic cast going more dramatic as Erica's mom, stepdad, and object of her affection/scorn with a wide range of adult immaturity, frustration, and leeriness all complementing Deutch.

Flower is mostly an able showcase for Deutch's talents as Winkler's stylish yet low-key direction in framing the troubling story of teens and sexual power into an interesting but not entirely engrossing dark comedy about broken people taking advantage of others yet finding solace.

Flower screens as part of the inaugural Vancouver Just for Laughs Film Festival at the Annex theatre for JFL NorthWest on March 9th.

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