Flowers in the Attic (2014 Lifetime)
Cast: Heather Graham, Ellen Burstyn, Kiernan Shipka, Mason Dye
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Synopsis (via Lifetime)
This Lifetime Original Movie is based on V. C. Andrews’ controversial, cult-classic book. After their father’s unexpected death, the twisted tale of four siblings is convinced by their mother to hide in the attic of their grandparents’ mansion so she can reclaim the family fortune. But when her visits begin to wane, the children endure unimaginable treatment at the hands of their ruthless Grandmother. Stars Heather Graham, Ellen Burstyn, Kiernan Shipka, Mason Dye, and Dylan Bruce. (2014)
A family typical blonde American family play football in the back yard. Cathy, Christopher, Carrie, and Cory love their father and wish he didn’t travel so much for work. (He is literally a traveling salesman, it is in the name kids.)
The matriarch of the house, Corrine, is focused on projecting perfection. She throws a surprise celebration for her husband. They hide when they think he has arrived home, but it is the police. The father has died in a car crash.
Corrine (Heather Graham) moves in with her wealthy family in Virginia. They leave behind all their things because most of them are leased—their last name is Foxworth.
At Foxworth Hall, Grandmother (the amazing Ellen Burstyn) is unimpressed with her new house guests, even if they are all beautiful. She locks the kids all in one attic bedroom and tells them that “God sees everything. God sees the evil they will do behind her back.” Grandfather doesn’t know that they are there, and they have to be quiet. There are rules; no one must ever see or hear them and something about bathrooms. It is a lot.
Corrine plans to win over her father over and get back in his will to take care of her family. She visits her children at night and tries to comfort them, but they want to leave.
The siblings go up to the attic and look around. They find old photos and name carvings in wood. Christopher tries to make the best of things. He builds a swing for the younger kids.
When Carrie has a temper-tantrum, Grandmother silences them by first throwing them around a bit; she shows them lashings on Corrine’s back that she gave her for living in sin. Grandmother tells them that they are the products of sin. Corrine married her half-uncle, and the children are the product of incest.
The months go by, and the children are still trapped in the attic. Corrine spends time sailing and being a socialite. Cathy is jealous of her mother and can’t understand why they are still in hiding. Corrine tells her children that her father can never know about them. The only way he will accept her back is if she didn’t have kids with her half-uncle.
Christmas arrives, and the family celebrates in the attic. Corrine gifts the children over the top gifts to make it up to them. She is the sole benefactor to her father’s will now.
A party is thrown in her honor, Cathy and Christopher hide in a liquor cabinet. Corrine’s father gifts her a necklace of jewels. They also see her kissing the family attorney, Bart Winslow. Who wants to start a life with Corrine, just the two of them. Christopher sneaks around the house. Corrine discovers he is missing and slaps him. She screams at them, never to leave the attic again. She Jedi Mind tricks them into staying and making it seem like it was their choice.
After a year of living in the attic, Christopher and Cathy are going through puberty. Corrine gives Cathy a bra. As Cathy tries it on, Christopher walks in on her. Grandmother catches them and forces Christopher off Cathy’s hair to make her less desirable to him. It doesn’t work, and they still have creepy sexual tension.
Cathy and Christopher sneak out of the attic and go swimming in a lake. They also feed a deer. Corrine has been missing for a month and hasn’t visited. They are concerned something happened to her.
Corrine was on a honeymoon because she married Bart Winslow. She tries to make it up to them with gifts. It doesn’t make for the two years they have been in the attic.
Christopher stands up to his Grandmother, and she does not have it. She whips him with a belt. As Cathy tends to his wounds, they kiss. (I mean, I understand he is a shirtless hunk, but this is not sexy.) Christopher fake repents to Grandmother, and she tells him to pray. He gets an impression of the master key to the house and carves one out of wood.
They plan their escape and steal loose change around the house in the middle of the night. An electric fence is put up to keep them on the property.
More kissing between siblings happen, or they have full-on sex. Thankfully this isn’t the typical Lifetime sex scene. It is implied, and that is more than enough.
Cory comes down with a bad case of food poisoning and needs to go to the hospital. Cathy slaps some sense into her mother to get her to take him. Cory dies and is buried in the backyard. Grandmother has slowly been poisoning them with donuts filled with rat poison.
Cristopher overhears servants talking and learns that Grandfather passed away months ago. There is no reason for them to be held in the attic. He steals some silver and plans their escape.
They fight off the Grandmother and lock her in the attic stairwell in the dark. Grandmother tells them that it was their mother is the one they should get revenge on, not her.
Christopher, Cathy, and Carrie traverse from the attic. The groundskeeper cuts the power on the fence. They take a train away from Foxworth Hall while Grandmother is locked in the attic.
What is the appeal of this movie? Please, someone, tell me because I do not get it.
Minority Report: It’s a VC Andrews movie, so no POCs here. Oh, wait, there is Sarah… a servant.
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*Photo Credit: © 2014 Lifetime