If you know the films of John Carney, then you know he makes a certain kind of movie and has yet to deviate from that. Soulful Irish musicals about love and the power of music are his brand, seen in the Oscar-winning Once, Sing Street, and the underrated (to me anyway) Begin Again. So when his latest, Flora and Son, was added late to Sundance, I was super pumped to see what Carney had to offer, and this story of the transformative power of music did not disappoint.
Flora and Son stars Eve Hewson as a brassy, scrappy single mom from Dublin who must cope with her rebellious son who is too much like his momma. After he rejects an old acoustic guitar given as a gift, Flora takes up learning the instrument herself with the help of washed-up LA musician teaching lessons over the Internet. As she gets better and grows more self-confident, Flora and her son reconnect through the power of music.
So yes, it’s a kind of love story but not necessarily romantic love. In my rave review out of Sundance, I noted that Hewson’s Flora is the best and most vivid character Carney has ever created. Carney can be a bit cheesy and the emotions pretty heavy, but you want and expect that from him at this point. Fans of his films will not be disappointed.
Also starring newcomer Orén Kinlan and Jack Reynor, Flora and Son hits theaters on September 22nd and Apple TV+ on September 29th. Check out the trailer along with a video I took of the cast following its world premiere.