'Flowers in the Attic' Remake Gets the Most Important Thing Right

flowers in the atticIt may be the second attempt to bring V.C. Andrews' cult classic book to life in movie form, but the Lifetime remake of Flowers in the Attic does what its 1987 predecessor refused to do. It gets the story right.

With Mad Men's Kiernan Shipka as Cathy Dollanganger and Mason Dye as her brother Christopher, the Lifetime original movie tells the story of four children locked in their grandmother's attic for years after their father's death. In all three versions, the Dollanganger children learn they're the products of incest -- their mother, Corinne, was the niece of her husband, their father. But the 1987 movie shied away from exactly what made the book so creepy -- and so scandalous.

The Lifetime movie didn't.

Yes, there was incest, and not just through the story of the mother and her uncle.

Kiernan Shipka and her TV brother growing up together in captivity succumb to their baser urges right before our very eyes. Of course, it being Lifetime, the sex between two teenagers, two siblings, is limited to kisses and the sight of the two of them under the covers, Dye's chest bare in a post-coital cuddle.

Thank goodness.

A purist in terms of liking my movies to match my books, I'll admit I didn't need to see any more. Even the kisses themselves were unsettling, no less so because Shipka truly inhabits the role of Cathy Dollanganger. 

The incest was, in fact, only the very large tip of the iceberg in terms of returning Flowers in the Attic to Andrews' original creation. Other crucial fixes were made, including a return to the time frame in which Andrews actually set her novel, and faithfulness to the length of time in which the Dollanganger children were held hostage and their means of escape.

Unfortunately, the faithfulness to Andrews' book wasn't enough to make the movie more interesting. Ellen Burstyn as Grandmother Olivia Foxworth makes a mean villain and Heather Graham is sufficiently infuriating as the children's mother, Corinne Foxworth/Dollanganger. But it's hard to pack three years of captivity into two hours -- with commercials -- and truly make you feel the angst of these children wondering if they will ever make it out of that attic alive.

Even the relationship between siblings Cathy and Chris, creepy as it is, lacks the desperation of the teenagers in the book.

With rumors that Lifetime already has a sequel lined up, let's hope they do better the second time around.

What did you think of Lifetime's decision to show the incestuous relationship?

 

Image via James Dittiger/Lifetime

movies, recaps

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00NoW... 00NoWay00

Well, it's a big part of the story ... especially if you've read the sequils.  I don't see how it can be left out.

bills... billsfan1104

I loved the books, HATED the movie. I don't have cable, so I pray this comes on Netflix!!

Manth... Manthie717

@billsfan1104 If you like to watch movies online, keep checking this website http://www.mylifetime.com/watch-full-movies-online and you will be able to watch the entire movie there. It will probably be on there in a couple weeks.

Jody Alton

This was one of my favorite book series and authors as a teen.  Neither movie did it justice.  I only managed to watch about fiveminutes of the movie tonight, and the acting wasso stilted and hideous that I couldn't stomach it any longer.

teddy... teddysmama09

I think the only way a televised version of the book could even begin to do the story justice would be to make it a mini series (like the Thornbirds).  Like the writer said, two hours (including commercials) was not sufficient time to tell such a heart wrenching story. I felt like it went to quick, you didn't have time to really feel for the children. As far as Lifetime movies go, though, it was improvement from former train wrecks (Liz and Dick anyone?) 

adamat34 adamat34

The movie was boring, none of the actual terror was portrayed. Mostly anger. If Im not mistaken didnt Christopher rape Cathy and she played the blood off as paint???? The movie made it like they both were into it...lifetime fail...again.

BatMom. BatMom.

I tried to watch it. I didn't get past the part where the kids first go up to the attic. It was awful.

fave82 fave82

I was not a fan. I agree there wasn't nearly enough time to tell the story. They changed too many things as well (that whole escape? Wtf was that?!) . I was excited for this.. They said it would be closer to the book but I thought it was a big fail.

nonmember avatar Daniel

The original was eerie enough and the background music and setting made it more sad and creepy at the same time. The book was terribly stimulating to your emotions because the incest actually showed how isolated and deprived the children were. But i don't think Lifetime is capable of capturing the essence of the story even with all the details, as much os the 1987 movie did without it. not only the tv commecials will kill the mood, but the directing of Lifetime movies make the stories look more like a daytime soap opera rather than a dramatic thriller.

Emily... EmilyMelodious

The movie was horrible. Had to stop watching after the first 20 minutes. The acting was terrible and it felt like no one read the book.

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