Flower and Garnet

Director: Keith Behrman

2002. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 103 minutes.

A thoughtful meditation on the state of a Canadian family weighted down by years of unspoken grief and resentment, Flower and Garnet marks an impressive feature debut by Vancouver-based director Keith Behrman. The film shows the effects of a father’s unexpressed grief on his eight-year old son, Garnet (Colin Roberts), whose mother died giving birth to him. Set in the rural Cache Creek area in British Columbia, it is a subtle and deeply moving portrait of a family that lives in an emotional no-man’s land.
The father, Ed (Callum Keith Rennie), is uncommunicative. Constantly downing cans of beer, he only relates to his son with silence, self-hatred, and sudden explosions of violence. He tries to school him in typical macho activities, but is unable to provide any real love or understanding. The years have turned the boy into a sullen, withdrawn child, with his only nurturing coming from his sister, Flower (Jane McGregor). It’s a film in which unexpressed emotions and reproachful silences resonate far deeper than the histrionics which usually accompany this type of family drama. Roberts is so natural as the young Garnet that it seems as if you can hear his thoughts and feel his feelings above the long, awkward silences. The climax comes as a devastating jolt.

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