DIFFERENT FLOWERS: A Realistic Depiction Of Sisterly Love
Equal parts funny and realistic, Different Flowers is a wonderful love letter to the Midwest, and the strength of familial love.
In Morgan Dameron‘s Midwestern love letter Different Flowers, Mille (Emma Bell), a young bride-to-be, leaves her fiance at the alter, and goes off with her sister, Emma (Hope Lauren). The two have a natural chemistry, lending the film its focus on the importance of familial love and following your dreams. This film really stuck with me, especially its portrayal of the relationship between Emma and Millie.
Small Details Make For a Lasting Depiction of Familial Love
As someone with a close older sister, I am always interested in films which accurately depict this type of relationship. The dialogue between their characters felt natural, during scenes of typical sisterly bonding, as well as in the more emotional scenes testing how strong of a bond the sisters share.
Having the two not automatically seem similar was another nice, and realistic touch. Emma feels like the one who has always taken risks, while Millie comes across as someone too concerned with everyone else, ignoring her own feelings. Even though the other characters in the film, such as their mother and Millie’s fiance Charlie (Sterling Knight), think Emma is bringing the worst out of Millie, it’s obvious to the audience Emma and Millie are actually bringing the best out of each other.
When Emma and Millie leave the wedding together, Emma is wearing a backpack and a pair of sneakers with her dress. This works as a visual difference between her and Millie, who looks prim and proper in her mother’s wedding dress. From the first moment we see Millie and Emma, we see the differences between them, yet can tell they are close, by the ease in which they interact with each other.
Another strong costume detail comes from their road trip, and desire to change out of the dresses they have worn since the wedding. Emma’s trunk is filled with t-shirts bearing popular phrases. At first Millie does not want to wear any of the shirts, but ends up keeping the shirt Emma gave her to wear once the two have parted ways to follow their respective dreams.
The Benefits of the Road Trip Film
Different Flowers is filled with small and intimate moments, as Emma and Millie get closer and closer to their destination of their grandmother’s farm in Missouri. As the film progresses, Emma and Millie grow closer than they have been in years, reevaluating their relationship, and realizing they still need each other.
The road trip structure has been used for years in films, with varying results, and it works exceptionally well here. The road trip gives the audience the time to get to know both Millie and Emma as they spend time together, away from everyone else in their lives. Most of the strongest moments in the film take place in Emma’s cramped car, with only her and Millie on screen. I especially enjoyed the scenes explaining Millie’s break-up rules, which Millie is partaking in for the first time.
During these road trip sequences, we get to know Millie and Emma as their own people with their own problems, while also getting to understand the particular sisterly bond between the two. This section of the film was a joy to watch, and I feel anyone with a close friend or a sister, will appreciate the scenes in the film exploring this special bond.
Different Flowers moves our characters from Kansas City to Missouri, exploring the Midwestern charms along the way. Once in Missouri, Millie goes exploring, slowly finding the independence she was sorely lacking in the life she left behind. In addition to exploring on her own, she also spends time bonding with her sister, revisiting areas they loved as children.
When Emma and Millie fight, it never feels like unnecessary drama, but instead feels like an appropriate examination of their relationship, and how they are working to build it back up. During the road trip, we see how Millie and Emma interact, lightly teasing each other, revisiting jokes from their childhood, and building a new, stronger relationship.
The Importance of Female Empowerment
Different Flowers is wonderfully feminist and empowering with its plot, taking the outline of a romantic comedy, but creating a film about familial relationships and the importance of independence rather than a story of finding new, romantic love.
One of the strongest aspects of the film is the reason Millie wants to leave Charlie at the alter. It isn’t another man or the possibility of finding new love. Millie wants to get out because she feels Charlie will hate her for applying to law school, and essentially following her own career dreams, instead of becoming the white picket fence wife he expects from her.
I appreciated the focus on Millie finding her independence and re-discovering the relationships with her grandmother and sister she left behind when her life was entirely focused on her seemingly perfect and put-together life with Charlie.
The film shows two completely different women, yet does not put one above the other. We never are told one of these women is better than the other, even if their families feel that way, the audience is given a close and personal view of both women as they work on becoming better versions of themselves, without becoming something they are not.
Different Flowers: Conclusion
Different Flowers is a beautiful love letter to the Midwest, independence, and familial love. Morgan Dameron did a wonderful job crafting a funny, realistic, and loving film examining the unique and special relationships between sisters.
Do you think more films should focus on the realistic relationships between sisters?
Different Flowers was released September 29th in the US.
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