Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Alun Armstrong, Diane Baker, Adrien Brody, Christopher Clarke, Kurt Cramer
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
An implausible plot doesn't prevent Harrison's Flowers from being a harrowing and moving depiction of the cost of war. Andie MacDowell stars as Sarah Lloyd, the wife of a photojournalist reported lost in the 1991 civil ... more »
This Film Tells the Truth About War
John Harrison | Potomac, Md. USA | 01/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I watched this movie for two reasons: I like Andie MacDowell and my last name is Harrison.I liked this movie because I am a Viet nam vet that fought in Tet and therefore I have some considerable experience with war in a city, or as the Army used to call it War in a Built Up Area. If you have actually seen this kind of war, the movie is frighteningly accurate and like war, necessisarily fragmentary and incomplete.For example, in one perfect and horrific, scene Andie MacDowell and her two journalist companions are moving through a city to find a hospital where her husband may be. They come upon a situation: a young child, probably a girl runs out of a building in front of them. A soldier follows her out of the building, and kills her. War's brutality? Certainly. A killing mad soldier, killing an innocent child. Possibly. But, even more likely, the scene represents wars brutality on multiple levels. If you knew that the child had just thrown a hand grenade and the soldier escaped it but his buddy, or even more likely in this kind of war, his actual brother did not would that change the nature of the scene for you? Or, if that was true and you knew that the child had another hand grenade, or a pistol, would that change your impression of the meaning of the scene? And how about that soldier many years later as he looks down at his own child, assuming he survives the war, will he be able to forget the look on that other chid's face as he shot her? However good his reason and in real war there are many reasons that can make such an act necessary, will he be able to forget, or will it haunt him. This kind of awful situation, but not unusual situation, is precisely why William T. Sherman said that "War is Hell." For a soldier, having killed a child for any reason must be true Hell, but to have done it on purpose. That would be worse. While I avoided shooting at children, the reality of war among civilians is worse than you could ever imagine even in a nightmare. Say you are a sentry and there is a car speeding toward your post. You open fire. The car stops. Your post is safe. But it turns out that a child is dead. The car was speeding to get to the hospital. That is war in the city and all you have is an instant to make up your mind to shoot, or not to shoot. To kill, or not to kill, and either way to live with the aftermath. Do the sailors or Marines on watch on the USS Cole wished that they had fired. Even if their orders were not to fire. Even if the approach of the boat with a bomb in it did not look like an attack. Even if a child had been steering the boat with a bomb. I have no doubt that they all wished that they had fired. And they will wish that, and relive that, until they too die. In that sense they are as much causalities of war as their shipmates that suffered actual physical hurt. The Captain of that ship, the Officer of the Day, the Watch officer all will relive and replay that day and regret that no one fired soon or often enough. Watch this movie and you will see what I mean. There are things that happen in war that are horrible, to everybody.I have seen war and I have seen many war movies - but only rarely have I seen a movie as true to the appalling core of the experience as this is. As our soldiers fight a shadow war in Iraq and in Afghanistan it would be good to remember that war is hell. If you have forgotten, this is a very accurate picture of it.Yes, the plot is a tad implausible, but I would hope that the wife that my son chooses when he grows up would do as Andie MacDowell's fictional character does and fight to find out what happened to him. I know my wife would."
Feels a bit distanced from emotional connectivity.
D. Litton | Wilmington, NC | 03/20/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
""I would have felt something break inside if he were dead," sobs Sarah Lloyd after learning that her photo journalist husband has been killed on duty in Yugoslavia. Set in 1991, during a time of civil war, "Harrison's Flowers" is a somewhat murky exploration of human strength in times of distress, tacking a well-constructed production design to an emotionally mute story line that has its moments, and manages to keep one's interest for a reasonable portion of its lengthy duration. Andie MacDowell plays Sarah, whose husband, Harrison (David Strathairn), is a Pulitzer-winning photographer who shoots various images for Newsweek, Life, and Time magazines. Oh, and he likes to keep up the flowers in his greenhouse, too, in case we should think he's all about work and no play. After deciding he's had enough of traveling to war-torn countries to take poignant snapshots, his boss convinces him to take one last job in Yugoslavia, where a civil war is breaking out. Sarah is supportive in his decision to go, like any good-natured wife would be. Her support turns to disbelief when she walks into work one morning and becomes the center of silent attention, which can only mean one thing: Harrison is dead. There's only one catch: no one saw his body being removed from the collapsed house that supposedly took his life. Sarah, in what we first believe is a deep sense of denial, sees an image of a shattered greenhouse on CNN, spots a man whom she believes is Harrison, and heads to Yugoslavia to find him herself. So far, we've been given a so-so setup with a couple of meandering moments and throwaway subplots crossed with one or two important ones. The Lloyd's young son, Cesar, harbors a silent resistance for his father as a result of his absence, but it is never expanded upon, and never comes into play as it should. The whole greenhouse and flower connection is corny, but without it, there would be no basis for the movie's equally corny title. A beginning scene at the Pulitzer awards introduces Adrian Brody as a photo journalist who lashes out at Harrison in angst over his less-accomplished friend's death; later, out of guilt, he helps Sarah make it safely through enemy territory. The second half of the movie places us in the rugged terrain of Yugoslavia, where members of the press and television camera crews make their way through battle by driving in cars marked with the letters "TV." Your acceptance of these scenes depends on how much of your disbelief you are willing to suspend, from scenes like a near-rape involving Sarah and several enemy soldiers (but from which side of the fighting?), to their many near-misses and close calls with dropping bombs and sniper bullets. The film gets the look of war right, with settings and ramshackle towns ravished by the effects of continuous firepower that look authentic and realistically haunting. Yet, however real they may look, the war scenes lack the effectiveness of such films as "We Were Soldiers" or "Black Hawk Down," mainly because we know that our small group of reporters is going to survive no matter what stands in their way. In a solid performance, MacDowell makes a good, but not entirely lasting impression as a wife and mother torn between disbelief and reality. Her character's interactions with those touched by war is not as prevalent as is needed to get a feel for the emotional taxation of such traumatic events, but she does try. The overall movie feels a bit distanced from any sort of emotional connectivity, but it does have redeeming qualities as a time-waster without much afterthought to it."
The Atrocity of WAR
D. South | New York City, United States | 02/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film was released at the beginning of 2001 in Europe.It is one of the most schocking and real accounts of war that has ever been shown on screen. The story of international reporters reaching the front line in the war in former Yugoslavia, Harrison's Flowers will leave you speechless for hours after the show. As the four hoursmen of the apocalypse, hunger, destruction, misery, and death, run rampant through the villages of Croatia, goosbumps will cover your skin as the wife of a famous photographer journeys to Vukovar in search of her lost husband. A definite must see, a cry for peace."
Sober but excellent
William Parlatore | Annapolis, MD USA | 02/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this movie last year on a French airline headed back from Polynesia. The subject is personal (I'm a photojournalist), and while it hit me like a brick after cruising to Tahiti, the realism and horrow of the war zone images are both necessary and disturbing.I've waited quite some time for the movie to come to the U.S. I highly recommend the film to anyone, especially those who glorify war, and who needs convincing that war is horrible, even if it does bring out the best and worst of the human species."