Lifetime has been heavily promoting its remake of the controversial V.C. Andrews novel 'Flowers in the Attic'. Some sites who had seen the movie prior to its release sang the film's praises. The network leaned heavily on the premise that it would stay true to the book and explore the incest between older siblings Cathy and Christopher, a subject that the original 1987 film shied away from. Even with strong performances from Ellen Burstyn and Kiernan Shypka, the movie fell flat and did not capture the suspense in the novel or the first film.
There were several reasons why the film never picked up steam. One was the insufferable acting from Heather Graham. Graham often looked lost and her acting was completely one dimensional. There was no transition from her being a loving mother to a money grubbing woman who tried to kill her children. The film changed the character the minute she stepped into Foxworth Hall with little to no explanation.
The twins' characters were completely underutilized in the film. In the original, I found myself emotionally connected to the twins and very sad when little Cory died. However, in the Lifetime version they were bratty, boring and weren't given much screen time. The absence of the twins wouldn't usually be a big deal except that the book leans heavily on them looking to Christopher and Cathy as their parents because they feel abandoned by their mother.
Then there was the infamous theme of incest. Lifetime went there.....almost. It was impossible to watch the film and not cringe or be left speechless at all the innuendos and inappropriate kisses, looks and feelings between the characters especially Cathy and Christopher. The two actors, newcomer Mason Dye and 'Mad Men' cast member Kiernan Shipka did a good job portraying the sexual tension between brother and sister. Considering that Shipka is only 14 years old made the scenes even more cringe worthy but worked for the film nonetheless.
Lifetime did shy away from the infamous rape scene between Cathy and Christopher in the book. The scene where the rape was supposed to happen was swapped out for a regular love scene instead. However, kudos to Lifetime for staying true to the book as opposed to the original film that focused more on the mother and grandmother's cruelty.
Is the film worth seeing? Sure if for no other reason than to see the book really adapted to film. Did the film live up to the buzz and hype? Not at all. However, if there is nothing else on TV and you are looking for a typical Lifetime movie..then this will be worth your time.