103 minutes – Drama
Release date: March 28, 2003
DVD release date: October 28, 2003
Canadian distributor: OIdeon Films
Flower & Garnet is the story of a broken family forced to confront problems that have gone on for too many years. Eight years to be precise. Everything stems from the fact that Garnet’s mother died giving birth to him. His father, played by Callum Keith Rennie has retreated into his grief and seems quite at home there. Essentially uncommunicative with his family and girlfriend he finds solace in too many beers. He only relates to his son with silence, self-hatred, and occasional sudden frightening explosions of violence. Set in rural British Columbia, he tries to school Garnet in such typical macho activities as fishing, driving and shooting on an improvised pistol range. But what the boy needs most – love and understanding – he is unable to provide. The result is that Garnet has grown to be both sullen and withdrawn.
Played remarkably well for such a young child in his first acting performance – Colin Roberts received a Genie nomination for Best Actor – you can literally hear his thoughts and feel his feelings above the long, awkward silences. Ed tries to set things right by giving Garnet a BB gun for his birthday, but he uses it to take out his aggression on animals. Life for Garnet goes from bad to very much worse when his 16-year-old sister Flower becomes pregnant and decides to keep the baby despite her father’s vehement opposition. The only option left is to move out, which she does. Garnet begins skipping school and experimenting with his father’s handgun, which he steals from under Ed’s bed. Despite the many signs that Garnet’s state is becoming increasingly unbalanced, Ed refuses to deal with the fact that his son has serious problems. Until Garnet disappears with the gun on the same night Flower goes into a difficult labor.
Flower & Garnet is a hauntingly quiet film that honestly explores the emotions of guilt, blame and hope. Keith Behrman won the Claude Jutra Award at the Genies for outstanding achievement by a Canadian director in a first theatrical feature and was named the best emerging western Canadian director at the Vancouver International Film Festival.