TV-Movie Review: 'Petals on the Wind' (2014)

This provocative sequel picks up ten years after the events of “Flowers in the Attic,” circa the 70’s. Now adults, Cathy (Rose McIver) and Chris (Wyatt Nash) raise teenage Carrie (Bailey Buntain) as all of them attempt to find normalcy after their caretaker has died leaving them his estate. As Chris works on his medical degree, Cathy busies herself with her ballet aspirations. Both eternally damaged from the horrors of the first film, they have developed a co-dependency on one another that has excessively crossed the line.

Despite all of the sordid drama and lurid spectacle of the series, there are penetrating truths about overcoming adversity and the alienation that comes from surviving something others haven’t had to. As much as one could write-off the series, they have more to offer than some might think. The Dollanganger children are shown trying to be a part of a world that they once would’ve been able to thrive in and are now on the outside looking into because of what they’ve suffered.

As much as they appear to be whole, they aren’t, and that has caused some of them to crumble (Carrie), to rise (Chris) and tread water (Cathy). Despite all of the siblings experiencing the same thing, they have responded to it differently.

The movie adaptation takes a few licenses with the original novel. For instance, Paul, the kids' benefactor/guardian, doesn’t die at the beginning. In fact, he plays a major role in the novel, including a romance with Cathy. Omitting this storyline was an incredibly wise decision as it streamlined the story exponentially, among other things.

Cathy’s thirst for revenge takes longer to manifest than it should’ve. Her quest for vengeance is one of the central aspects of her personality, and her jarring desire for it, towards the third act, comes out of left field, given the gentility she behaves with earlier on. There is foreshadowing to her cunning, which hints at her not being the wilting flower, she is mostly projected as. However, these suspicions are never confirmed.

Given the compressed time frame of the 2-hour runtime, the whiplash of its storylines can appear a tad ludicrous given the lack of further context. Cathy’s rushed relationship with Julian comes on quickly, and viewers are left to conclude that she is rushing into it, to put distance between herself and Chris.

Carrie’s inability to tell her siblings about being bullied is hard to fathom, as is her out of nowhere rapid “sexual awakening.” One would be wise to listen carefully as some garish plot points are brushed over in quiet dialogue exchanges.

The expertly cast Rose McIver gives a commendable performance as Cathy, expressing the innocence and internally dark strife boiling beneath the surface. Bailey Buntain is also impressive as the harassed Carrie. While Heather Graham and Ellen Burstyn both give sinister turns that zealously sell their characters’ diabolical essence. Wyatt Nash is serviceable as Chris though he runs a bit cold at times amongst the fevered drama.

Lifetime movies are typically guilty pleasures and “Petals” is no exception. The over the top drama makes for an entertainingly gothic tale that nails some meditative moments along the way. Rating: 6.8/10

To read Eclectic Pop's review of "Flowers in the Attic," click here

[Featured Image by Lifetime]