Episode #60: Wildflower
Listen to Episode 60 of the Podcast here while you enjoy the show notes.
SUMMARY - Wildflower takes place in a small southern town in the 1940s. A young teenager named Ellie (played by Reese Witherspoon) is out riding her horse when she hears screams. Her investigation of the neighboring farm leads her to find a young woman named Alice (played by Patricia Arquette), who is hard-of-hearing and epileptic. She has been hidden away from society and forced to live in a shed. Ellie enlists the help of her brother to do what she can to help Alice.
Screenplay by Sara Flanigan; Directed by Diane Keaton, and premiered on Lifetime on December 3, 1991.
What becomes immediately apparent is that this is a very high-quality production for a TV movie produced for a cable channel. Lifetime movies did not mean the same thing in 1991 as they do now.
It certainly helps to have this stable of actors working with the material, including one of Reese Witherspoon's first roles.
Patricia Arquette's performance is a bit tougher to judge with modern eyes. At times it feels like it's too exaggerated and a couple moments that should be serious come close to comical. Of course, it's a difficult balance playing an adult that's been sheltered from social interactions and is also nearly deaf.
There may have been some issues with the plot that might have been explained in the book. It's strange that they will bathe and clothe Alice when she is not supposed to be out of her shed. Clearly that could cause a lot of questions from her mom and stepfather.
Needing to audition for the grandmother for tutoring was also a weird thing with a lot of build-up.
The movie presents a rounded family dynamic and just about every character has a decent arc
Alice's mother becomes a more prominent character as the story goes and that was a nice touch.
Of course, the main journey is Alice's and it really jumps forward when she gets the hearing aid
But the movie does start to slow down around then as well.
How many movies have we watched that feature dances...
...Where the characters find themselves alone in the room?
The final resolution with the stepfather seemed almost too easy and didn't feel like it closed the storyline.
Regardless, we were surprised that this never got a theatrical release as it was certainly better than other movies we've watched that did.
Awards Talk: The 1993 CableACE Awards covered late 1991 movies and some from 1992. It had two wins: Best Actress in Movie/Mini Series (Arquette), and the Humanitas Prize (PBS/Cable Category).
The movie was also nominated for two more awards: Best Actor William McNamara, Best Writing Sara Flanigan
TRUE CRIME & POP CULTURE
On this day, December 3, 1991, Hulk Hogan defeats The Undertaker at 'This Tuesday in Texas' at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio to become 4-time WWF champion.
If you weren't watching this movie on Lifetime, or WWF, here's what you may have been watching:
We talked a little about two of these programs. Here's more info:
Homefront - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101121/
Moving onto music, here are your Bottom 5 of the Billboard 100 as of December 7, 1991
100. Hey Donna - Rhythm Syndicate
99. Stand By My Woman - Lenny Kravitz
98. My Heart Belongs to You - Russ Irwin
97. In Paradise - Laissez Faire
96. Then Came You - T.P.E
RANKINGS & RATINGS
Nikki 1-5 star scale - 3 out of 5
Jon 0-4 star scale - 3 out of 4
Would you watch it again? - We would not necessarily watch current Lifetime movies again, but this one is worth your attention. The subject matter deals with some difficult themes but it has an uplifting presentation to it. In that way, it reminded us of Fried Green Tomatoes and while we'd rather watch that, neither of us would turn away from another viewing of Wildflower.
If you want to watch Wildflower, as of this recording in April 2022, it’s available on Tubi, Vudu, IMDBTV, Digital Rental, VHS, DVD. Check your local listings.
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