Keith Behrman

Flower & Garnet is a slow meditation on the state of a Canadian family weighed down by years of unspoken grief and resentment. The story is unveiled through the eyes of Garnet (Colin Roberts), a sad and isolated eight-year-old who has been raised by his sister Flower (Jane McGregor) after their mother died giving birth to him, leaving their father Ed (Callum Keith Rennie) distant and uncommunicative. Garnet moves through his childhood explorations with the weight of the world upon him, painfully aware of the burden his mere presence has placed upon his family. Things start to fall apart further when the teenaged Flower, chafing at parental responsibility she has been saddled with since childhood, begins to rebel sexually, assert her independence and challenge Ed to be more of a parent than he is seemingly capable of. This is a very quiet and thoughtful film, with its meaning placed in what the characters leave unsaid. The script is basically a collection of these unspoken moments, the reproachful silences and unexpressed emotions resonating far deeper than the histrionics which usually accompany this type of family drama. The trio of lead actors do an incredible job of conveying the range and depth of emotion that their tight-lipped characters require. A remarkably understated Callum Keith Rennie imbues his misguided and remote Ed with a painful humanity, while Jane McGregor plays Flower with the perfect combination of world-weary experience and typical teenage impetuousness, and young Colin Roberts is mesmerising and heartbreaking as Garnet.