“Once” and “Sing Street” writer-director John Carney has a new tune for a coming-of-age romance.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Eve Hewson lead Sundance breakout film “Flora and Son,” about a single mother (Hewson) who is trying to keep it together.
Per the official synopsis for the Apple TV+ film, single mom Flora (Hewson) is at a loss about what to do with her rebellious teenage son, Max (Orén Kinlan). Encouraged by the police to find Max a hobby, Flora tries to occupy him with a beat-up acoustic guitar. With the help of a washed-up L.A. musician, Jeff (Gordon-Levitt), Flora and Max discover the transformative power of music.
Jeff teaches Max and Flora guitar via Zoom, which writer-director Carney told Rolling Stone was a key inspiration during the pandemic lockdown.
“I had thought of the film before the pandemic, and then during it I thought of what it would be like to pick up a new instrument and learn it,” Carney said. “I was thinking, God, it would be a blessing to find something that got you through that.”
Carney cast “Bad Sisters” star and U2 frontman Bono’s daughter Hewson after connecting on Zoom as well. Hewson’s co-star Gordon-Levitt wrote Carney a letter to be in the musical film. “Sing Street” alum Jack Reynor also stars.
Kate Erbland’s IndieWire review praised the reliance on video chat onscreen, writing, “Yes, the duo interact mostly via Zoom video, but while Carney is exploring the possibility of real human connection on the internet, he also knows a good pairing when he himself makes it.”
Erbland wrote, “Carney turns one sort of love story into an entirely different kind. Carney has never been interested in churning out expected endings, but where he takes ‘Flora and Son’ might be his most satisfying conclusion yet, and while it may take a bit of a winding path to get there, hell, isn’t that the problem with life itself? At least this one ends on a very high note indeed.”
“Flora and Son” premieres in select theaters September 22 and will be available to stream on Apple TV+ September 29. Check out the trailer below.