FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC
Virginia Andrews most famous book was previously filmed as Flowers in the Attic (1987) the only of her books to be filmed prior to this. Featuring Kristy Swanson as Cathy, Victoria Tennant as the mother and Louise Fletcher as the grandmother, the 1987 film was a horribly turgid melodrama. Even worse, it muted most of the themes in the novel. The central incest theme was censored, while the motivations and lies of the mother seemed murky and unclear.
This is a made-for-tv movie remake that was conducted for the Lifetime Network. The good news is that the 2014 film is much more faithful to the book. The motivations and duplicities of the mother and grandmother become much clearer, the grandmother even sympathetic in some scenes. The incest plot has been left intact surprisingly given that the film aired on public access television and is tastefully handled. (Perhaps overly so the film shows it in a way that is the height of sensitivity and even goes so far as to correlate it as a normal and loving reaction in response to a harshly cruel authoritarianism and parental neglect).
The down side is that Flowers in the Attic 2014 is no better a film than the 1987 one. The melodrama takes place with the typical artifice of a Lifetime production where the film has been shot 1950s period through a gauzy sepia-toned lens. In Deborah Chows hand, the story feels like it has been stuffed and mounted, bled dry of real people and where ersatz cliche cues are made to substitute for any real emotion. The young children are often compared to dolls and this is not inapt for it feels like a film cast and being enacted by mannequins. The exceptions might be the familiar names of Ellen Burstyn and Heather Graham, although even they seem to be struggling to do anything with one-dimensional roles.
Four months after Flowers in the Attic aired, Lifetime also screened an adaptation of Virginia Andrews book sequel Petals on the Wind (2014) also starring Heather Graham and Ellen Burstyn, and was followed by adaptations of If There Be Thorns (2015) and Seeds of Yesterday (2015). This was followed by Lifetime adaptations of other Andrews works such as My Sweet Audrina (2016) and Heaven (2017).
(Winner in this sites Worst Films of 2014 list).