Flowers in the Attic (2014 film)

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Flowers in the Attic
Genre Drama
Based on Flowers in the Attic
by V. C. Andrews
Screenplay by Kayla Alpert
Directed by Deborah Chow
Starring Heather Graham
Ellen Burstyn
Kiernan Shipka
Mason Dye
Ava Telek
Theme music composer Mario Grigorov
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Charles W. Fries
Lisa Hamilton-Daly
Merideth Finn
Tanya Lopez
Michele Weiss
Rob Sharenow
Producer(s) Harvey Kahn
Damian Ganczewski
Cinematography Miroslaw Baszak
Editor(s) Jamie Alain
Running time 86 minutes
Production company(s)
  • Front Street Pictures, Inc.
  • Cue the Dog Productions
  • Fries Film Company, Inc.
Distributor Lifetime Pictures
Original network Lifetime
Original release
  • January 14, 2014 (2014-01-14)
Followed by Petals on the Wind
External links

Flowers in the Attic is a 2014 Lifetime movie, starring Kiernan Shipka, Ellen Burstyn, Mason Dye, and Heather Graham. It is the second adaptation of the 1979 novel of the same name by V. C. Andrews. A sequel, Petals on the Wind, based on the novel of the same name, premiered on May 26, 2014, on Lifetime. The network announced the developing of the following books in the series, If There Be Thorns and Seeds of Yesterday, which both aired in 2015.[1]


In the late 1950s, the Dollanganger family—14-year-old Chris, 12-year-old Cathy, 4-year-old twins Carrie and Cory and their parents Christopher and Corrine—live happily together in Pennsylvania. This changes on their father's birthday when Christopher dies in a car crash, leaving the family devastated and heavily in debt. Four months later, Corrine announces they are going to go live with her wealthy parents in Virginia. Corrine explains to the children, who were previously told they had no living relatives, that she is estranged from her parents and changed her last name to conceal her true identity, which is Foxworth.

Corrine's grim and cold-hearted mother, Olivia, takes the children to a small room in the attic of Foxworth Hall. The next day, the children are given a list of rules and Olivia tells them to remain in the attic. Corrine explains that her father, Malcolm, had disowned her for eloping with Christopher, who was actually her half-uncle (her father's younger half-brother) and they were disinherited. Corrine promises the children she will convince her father to forgive her, introduce them to him, and they will all live wealthy, happy lives.

Corrine's visits to the attic become less frequent as she begins to enjoy her new-found wealthy life and starts a relationship with her father's attorney, Bart Winslow. Corrine informs them that while her father has forgiven her, she can't let them meet him because she claimed that she didn't have any children; thus, they will have to remain in the attic until he dies.

A year passes and Corrine's visits with her children all but cease. Due to a lack of fresh air and sunshine, the twins have stopped growing, while Cathy and Chris enter puberty. Chris accidentally walks in on Cathy while she is trying on her first bra. Olivia catches them and calls them sinners and tries to cut off Cathy's hair as punishment. Chris stops her, but she threatens to starve them for a week if he doesn't cut Cathy's hair himself. Cathy and Chris refuse to comply and give their remaining food to the twins while they rely mostly on water. Olivia appears to relent and leaves them a basket of food; however, Cathy awakens to find tar in her hair the next morning. As Chris reluctantly cuts her hair, he tells her that he finds her beautiful, but knows it is wrong to think of her like that.

Another year passes and Corrine hasn't visited in months. Cathy and Chris conclude that their mother has abandoned them and begin contemplating an escape. When Corrine does return, she happily announces she has married Bart and was away on her honeymoon in Europe. Olivia soon brings them sugar-powdered doughnuts, which she says are from their mother. Olivia beats Chris with a belt after he demands to be called by his name rather than "boy." Cathy tends to his wounds and admits her fear of losing him. Assuring her nothing will happen to him, they kiss. When Olivia comes to deliver their food, Chris tells her that she was right about them being the "devil's spawn" and pleads for forgiveness. After she leaves, Chris reveals the whole scene was a scheme to get an impression of the attic key in soap, and he carves a wooden copy.

Cathy and Chris begin to steal money from their mother's room to finance an escape by train. On a night raid, Cathy finds Bart asleep and kisses him. Chris later overhears his mother and Bart talking, as he mentions a dream of a young, blond-haired girl coming into his room and kissing him. Realizing that she had kissed their stepfather, Chris angrily confronts Cathy, who assures him that the kiss meant nothing and had only been done out of curiosity. She kisses him and they end up having sex. Cathy suggests they move to Florida and Chris tells her that he loves her and can never love anyone else. Carrie tells Olivia and Corrine that Cory is sick and demands her mother take Cory to a hospital, threatening revenge if she doesn't. The next day, Corrine tells them Cory had pneumonia and has died, and has already been buried.

Devastated by the loss and in fear for their lives, Cathy and Chris decide to take all the money they have collected and grab as much jewelry as they can to finally escape. During the search for valuables, they discover that Corrine and Bart have left Foxworth Hall. Chris overhears a conversation between the butler, John Amos, and a maid, and learns that Olivia has been leaving poison to kill "the mice" in the attic and that their grandfather died seven months ago. Cathy shows Chris how Cory's pet mouse has died after eating a piece of powdered doughnut, revealing that the poison was in their food. Olivia then comes to take their key, and Chris restrains her long enough for Cathy and Carrie to escape. Olivia chases after them, but panics due to her claustrophobia when Chris shuts the door and turns the lights off. Olivia tells them that their mother was the one who poisoned them, not her, but they ignore her and climb out the window, fleeing on foot.

During their escape, they run into John Amos, who realizes they are Corrine's children. Horrified, he tells them to run while he cuts off the electric fence for them. They board a train to Florida and Chris assures her that their ordeal is finally over. Cathy vows revenge on their mother.



Critical reception[edit]

Flowers in the Attic received mixed reviews. Review aggregator site, Metacritic, has given the series a score of 49 out of 100, based on 22 critics.[2] On another review aggregator site, Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a 52% rating with an average rating of 5.5 out of 10, based on 21 reviews. Audience Score was more negative, with a 38% rating with an average rating of 3 out of 5, based on 771 User Ratings.[3]

For her performance, Burstyn was nominated for a Critics' Choice Television Award, Primetime Emmy Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award.


In its original televised airing, the film was watched by 6.06 million total viewers, and had a rating (percentage) of 1.9 in the 18-49 age demographic.[4] At the time, it was cable's number-one original movie performance since the October 2012 premiere of Steel Magnolias.[5]

Home media release[edit]

On April 15, 2014, Flowers in the Attic was released in DVD format for Region 1. The single disc featured the entire film, as well as a behind-the-scenes featurette with the cast and crew. It was later re-released on June 23, 2015, with Petals on the Wind as a "Double Feature." On November 10, 2015, it was included in a "4-Film Collection" with Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, and Seeds of Yesterday. [6]


Based on the next book of the Dollanganger series, Petals on the Wind premiered on Lifetime on May 26, 2014,[7] earning 3.4 million viewers, down from the 6.1 million earned by Flowers. Unlike the book, the film jumped ten years ahead from the events of Flowers.[8] It starred Rose McIver as Cathy, Wyatt Nash as Christopher, replacing Kiernan Shipka and Mason Dye from the previous movie, respectively, and Will Kemp as Julian Marquet, with Heather Graham as Corrine and Ellen Burstyn as Olivia Foxworth. Production for the film began on February 25, 2014, in Los Angeles.[9]

On the premiere of the sequel, Lifetime announced the production of the two following books in the Dollanganger series, If There Be Thorns and Seeds of Yesterday, both which premiered in 2015. Both sequels were shot by cinematographer James Liston. In order to achieve the timeless cinematic look, vintage anamorphic lenses were used to create more depth and atmosphere in the images.[1]


External links[edit]