Flowers in the Attic (2014 film)

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Flowers in the Attic
Based onFlowers in the Attic
by V. C. Andrews
Screenplay byKayla Alpert
Directed byDeborah Chow
StarringHeather Graham
Ellen Burstyn
Kiernan Shipka
Mason Dye
Ava Telek
Theme music composerMario Grigorov
Country of originUnited 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
CinematographyMiroslaw Baszak
Vivaan Salvi
Editor(s)Jamie Alain
Running time90 Minutes
Production company(s)
  • Front Street Pictures, Inc.
  • Cue the Dog Productions
  • Fries Film Company, Inc.
DistributorLifetime Pictures
Original networkLifetime
Original release
  • January 14, 2014 (2014-01-14)
Followed byPetals 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 V. C. Andrews1979 novel of the same name. 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 children — 14-year-old Chris, 12-year-old Cathy, 5-year-old twins Carrie and Cory — live happily with their parents, Christopher and Corrine, in Pennsylvania. This changes 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. She explains that she was estranged from her parents and changed her last name because of this.

On arrival at Foxworth Hall, Corrine's grim, claustrophobic and cold-hearted mother, Olivia, takes the children to a small room in the attic. The next day, the children are given a list of rules and Olivia tells them to stay in the attic at all times. Corrine explains that her father, Malcolm, disowned her for eloping with Christopher, who was actually her biological half-uncle (her father's younger half-brother) and they were disinherited. She promises the children she will make her father forgive her; once he has forgiven her, she will introduce him to the children, and they will live happily together at Foxworth.

Corrine's visits to the attic become less frequent as she begins to enjoy her new-found wealth and starts a relationship with her father's lawyer, Bart Winslow. She informs the children 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 Malcolm dies. Corrine's visits all but cease during the next year. Due to lack of fresh air and sunshine, the twins' growth has severely stunted; meanwhile, Cathy and Chris are entering 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 planning their escape. When Corrine does return, she happily announces she has married Bart and the reason for her absence was her honeymoon in Europe. She is upset that the children are not more excited and seems oblivious to the deterioration in the twins. Olivia soon brings the children sugar-powdered doughnuts, which she says are a gift 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. Chris assures her nothing will happen to him and 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.

Now able to leave the attic, 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 about a dream of a young, blonde-haired girl coming into the room and kissing Bart. Chris angrily confronts Cathy, who assures him that the kiss meant nothing and she only did it 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. Cathy 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 died, and has already been buried.

Devastated by Cory's death 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 their search for valuables, they discover that Corrine and Bart have left Foxworth Hall. Chris overhears a conversation between the butler 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 the butler, 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.


  • Heather Graham as Corrine Dollanganger/Foxworth
  • Ellen Burstyn as Olivia Foxworth
  • Kiernan Shipka as Cathy Dollanganger
  • Mason Dye as Christopher "Chris" Dollanganger, Jr.
  • Ava Telek as Carrie Dollanganger
  • Maxwell Kovach as Cory Dollanganger
  • Dylan Bruce as Bart Winslow
  • Chad Willett as Christopher Dollanganger, Sr.
  • Beau Daniels as Malcolm Foxworth
  • Andrew Kavadas as John Amos
  • Don Thompson as the Train Conductor
  • Tiara Moodley as passing by train passenger




Flowers in the Attic was first announced on July 23, 2013 as a television film for the Lifetime network. It was also announced that the film would star Heather Graham as Corrine Dollanganger and Ellen Burstyn as Olivia Foxworth.[2][3] It was also announced that the film would be directed by Deborah Chow and written by Kayla Alpert.[4]

On August 14 it was announced that Kiernan Shipka and Mason Dye had been cast as Cathy and Chris respectively.[5][6] During the same month, it was announced that Dylan Bruce had joined the cast as Bart Winslow, Corrine's love interest.[7]



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.[8] At the time, it was cable's number-one original movie performance since the October 2012 premiere of Steel Magnolias.[9]

Home media[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. [10]


Critical response[edit]

Flowers in the Attic received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 52% of 23 critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 5.5 out of ten.[11] The film averaged 49 out of 100, based on 22 critics, on Metacritic, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[12]


For her performance, Burstyn was nominated for a Critics' Choice Television Award,[13] Primetime Emmy Award,[14] and Screen Actors Guild Award.[15] Similarly, Shipka was nominated an Online Film & Television Association Award for her performance.[16]


Based on the next book of the Dollanganger series, Petals on the Wind premiered on Lifetime on May 26, 2014,[17] 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.[18] 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.[19]

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]


  1. ^ a b West, Kelly (May 27, 2014). "Petals on the Wind Sequels If There Be Thorns and Seeds of Yesterday Are Coming to Lifetime" (Press release). Television Blend. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  2. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (July 23, 2013). "Lifetime Greenlights 'Flowers In The Attic' Movie With Heather Graham & Ellen Burstyn". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  3. ^ Eakin, Marah (July 23, 2013). "Lifetime seeking to gross everyone out with a new adaptation of Flowers In The Attic". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  4. ^ Nededog, Jethro (July 23, 2013). "Heather Graham, Ellen Burstyn to Star in Lifetime's 'Flowers in the Attic'". TheWrap. Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  5. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (August 14, 2013). "Kiernan Shipka & Mason Dye Join 'Flowers In The Attic', Mena Suvari To 'Chicago Fire'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  6. ^ "Mad Men actress cast in Flowers in the Attic film". BBC. August 15, 2013. Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  7. ^ Nededog, Jethro (August 20, 2013). "'Orphan Black's' Dylan Bruce Joins Lifetime's 'Flowers in the Attic'". Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  8. ^ Bibel, Sara (January 22, 2014). "Saturday Cable Ratings: 'Flowers In the Attic' Wins Night, 'Sam & Cat', 'SAG Awards', College Basketball & More". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  9. ^ Bibel, Sara (January 21, 2014). "Lifetime's 'Flowers In The Attic' Locks In 6.1 Million Total Viewers" (Press release). TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  10. ^ "The Complete VCA: The Flowers in the Attic Movie (2014)".
  11. ^ "Flowers in the Attic (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on November 28, 2017. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  12. ^ "Flowers in the Attic". Metacritic. Archived from the original on July 2, 2017. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  13. ^ Bacle, Ariana (May 28, 2014). "Critics' Choice TV Awards 2014: And the nominees are..." Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 1, 2017. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  14. ^ "66th Primetime Emmys Nominees and Winners – Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on November 11, 2017. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  15. ^ "SAG Awards: Complete List of Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. January 24, 2015. Archived from the original on February 18, 2016. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  16. ^ "2013-14: The Season of The Normal Heart". Online Film & Television Association. Archived from the original on September 13, 2017. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  17. ^ Flowers in the Attic on IMDb
  18. ^ "'Flowers in the Attic' sequel scoop: Who's in, who's out -".
  19. ^ "'Flowers in the Attic' sequel casts Cathy's abusive lover -".

External links[edit]