Erica (Zoey Deutch) isn’t thrilled with the fact her mother Lauren (Kathryn Hahn) is having her boyfriend Tim (Tim Heidecker) move in with them in the new movie Flower. Even less exciting is that Tim’s son Luke (Joey Morgan) is joining them, straight from a stint in a rehab. Things get more interesting when it comes out that Luke has accused a former teacher (Adam Scott) of sexual abuse.
That prompts Erica and her friends to see if they can expose the man they believe to be a pervert and abuser. The way they do so, though, means they’re putting themselves into potentially compromising situations and certainly going outside the law. Convinced that they’re doing what the law won’t – or can’t – they continue on their vigilante mission.
I get what the photographer was going for here, especially as it relates to the theme of the story, but the image of Deutch laying on a bed with a flower at the end of her outstretched tongue might lean a *little* too hard into Lolita territory. Yes, the point is to sell a movie about a young girl entrapping an alleged abuser and I know we should be sensitive to the line between empowerment and exploitation. I’m just saying this looks a little bit too much like an American Apparel ad from 2005. At least Deutch is fully-clothed and her outfit isn’t too revealing, otherwise it might have fully crossed the line.
The first trailer hints at a darkly-comic story that’s going to be told, as we quickly cut to a scene where Erica, with the help of her friends, is blackmailing a cop who they lure into a compromising situation. There isn’t much story laid out here, instead presenting the group as a bunch of bored kids who decide they’re going to become vigilantes of some kind, taking down the weirdos and creeps hiding in plain sight and getting paid while doing so. It’s all kinetic visuals here, accompanied by praise from early reviews for Deutch ’s performance.
The next one definitely offers more story points. Erica’s life is changing because her mom is remarrying and that means she now has a stepbrother in Luke, something she’s a bit cynical of. We see she’s not exactly well-loved at school before getting to the meat of the issue, which is that Luke had previously accused a teacher of molesting him. So Erica and the gang decide to step in where the justice system has failed and take him down themselves. They begin stalking him, with Erica flirting with him to see if he’ll fall for it and they can catch him in something incriminating.
It’s…wow. I mean I guess if you’re going to make a movie about molestation and vigilante justice you have to go all-in and really present it with a dark sense of humor, which is definitely what’s on display here. Deutch certainly does look like a star here, completely selling Erica’s rebellious attitude and cavalier spirit. And Scott continues to do everything he can to take on roles that upend his “nice guy” persona.
Online and Social
There’s not much beyond the usual fare on the movie’s official website. Just the trailers, a gallery, buttons to buy tickets, a story synopsis and so on, including links to the movie’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter profiles.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nothing I’m aware of.
Media and Publicity
The movie was one of those announced as screening at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Deutsch and Winkler talked about what drew them to the movie and what they were trying to do with the story, what influenced them and more while at the festival. The Orchard quickly snatched it up for distribution.
Outside of that there doesn’t seem to have been much of a press push. The biggest hit was this joint feature of Deutch and director Max Winkler where they talked about how they got involved with the project, how they see it fitting into our current woman-empowering culture and more.
Just how this is going to be received by the target audience of young women I have no idea. There’s a concerted effort, both in the style of the trailers and in the content posted to the social profiles, to make it seem as hip and stylish as possible but I don’t have the kind of insights needed to know if that’s actually going to resonate or be seen as the studio trying way too hard.
That being said, I kind of dig it not because it looks “edgy” or anything like that but because once again Deutch looks like she can do just about anything. She really shines here as the bored teen who thinks to enact her own form of justice on the pervs in her town is making a difference. If that translates to the film as a whole it could well be worth watching.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.