In Theatres: 
Mar 23, 2018
Running Time: 
93 minutes

Zoey Deutch’s career so far has mostly been highlighted by the YA genre with her biggest roles being Beautiful Creatures, Vampire Academy, and Before I Fall. Flower is a departure from the norm, not only in that it’s not based on a young adult novel but in that it also features her best performance to date. It’s unfortunate that the film starts to fall apart in the third act, although the first two are absolutely magical.


17-year-old Erica (Zoey Deutch) has been extorting people for money by giving them oral sex while her friends film it and then threatening them by saying she’ll post the video for the world to see unless they pay up. She’s saving the money in order to bail her father out of prison, but all that changes when her mom invites her boyfriend Bob (Tim Heidecker) and his teenage son Luke (Joey Morgan) to live with them. Luke’s been in rehab for a drug addiction, and the two don’t exactly get along at first. He eventually reveals to Erica the cause of many of his problems; he was molested at school by a former teacher, Will (Adam Scott), who happens to be the hot guy at the bowling alley Erica often goes to. Together, the two hatch a plan to set up Will and make him pay for the terrible things he’s done.


Flower is a fascinating character drama that blossoms due to Deutch’s performance. Her bubbly persona is captivating and despite the frankness of her demeanor, deep down you can see that she cares for people. Her performance is a complex pairing of your typical teenage girl behavior with the drive of someone who already knows what she wants out of life. Erica’s standoffish to Luke at first, but once she gets to know him you can see the genuine brother-sister relationship start to develop. Luke, however, sees things differently and develops a crush on her, one that’s bound to get them in trouble.


The film brings a lightness to the no doubt heavy story of getting revenge on a pedophile. It never fully commits to the seriousness of its themes, instead opting for a more black-comedy approach that never fully works, especially when it comes to the later half of the film. Things start to fall apart towards the end as Erica and Luke’s situation gets more and more complicated, both in how they handle Will and in their relationship with one another. Flower does a good job at building up these fascinating characters, but then throws that all away in favor of an ending that’s more shocking and confusing than satisfying.


Flower is worth watching for its performances alone, but it could have benefited greatly with a more consistent story. Zoey Deutch is fantastic and while I wouldn’t necessarily call it a breakout performance as she’s been great in nearly every role she’s done so far, it’s one that most certainly showcases her ability to lead a film and not just star in it.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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