It has been a few days since Lifetime premiered the next movie in the V.C. Andrews Dollaganger series If There Be Thorns. Being as this was my least favorite book in the series, I am not surprised that it is also my least favorite movie.
Since Lifetime originally aired Flowers in the Attic, they have taken the liberty of skimming off a lot of facts and details that may not have been entirely important, but they certainly help explain how and why Cathy acts as she does in this movie/book as well as the next. This suppression of facts only further waters down the story line and I found myself barely paying attention through much of the movie.
That being said, leaving out these things may have helped make Cathy less annoying. For by the time you get to the If There Be Thorns book, you find yourself wishing this character had been the one to poison herself with rat poison donuts, instead of innocent and sweet Carrie. Her hatred for her mother makes her an insufferable character and you feel nothing but sympathy for her children and her brother-husband (sorry, I couldn’t resist using the term.) The truth is, despite how much of Bart’s problems that arise in this story stem from the lack of attention and love he feels from his mother, very little focus is given to Cathy. Which is a positive as I feel Lifetime did itself a injustice by its casting of Rachel Carpani. Though she’s a decent actress, she was dead in this role and there was no real connection or passion between her and the character. Which is sad, since her co-star, Jason Lewis, did a decent job as Christopher.
In the books, I despised the character of Cathy’s youngest son, Bart Sheffield, and I’ll admit, I fell hook, line and sinker for the idea that Bart was a murderous psychopath. After all, in both the book and the movie, he struggles to cope with his position in the family. He’s jealous of the little girl, Cindy, who is adopted and attempts to kill her. In the book, he attacks her several times and even tries to stab her and Cathy. He’s twisted and is easily overcome by the idea of his great-grandfather Malcolm Foxworth. But in the end, you discover he’s just a troubled boy and sadly, thanks to Malcolm’s journal, he will grow into a troubled young man. The young actor who played him (Mason Cook) did a phenomenal job of making this character creepy, disturbing and twisted. Hands down he was the standout star of this movie and though the movie itself lacked any real appeal for me, I mean that as a compliment.
I suppose I wasn’t surprised by my disinterest in this movie. After all, I disliked the book and was already confused by Lifetime’s constant desire to mix scenes from both this movie and Seeds of Yesterday in their promos. There’s a real disconnect between the promos, especially since they only mention If There Be Thorns, instead of mentioning both would be premiering on back to back Sundays. Perhaps I’m being the standard bookie who is disappointed by the outcome, but I don’t think that’s the case this time. After all, Lifetime is not known for making quality movies and it really was the worst written book/plot of the Dollanganger series.
Should you watch this movie? The answer really depends on what type of person you are. If you love Lifetime movies or enjoyed the first two movies, then you’ll enjoy this movie. It’s a nice difference to the usual Lifetime plot line that unfolds. If you loved the books, you’ll probably enjoy watching it be brought to life. But if you are expecting a great movie, you are better off not wasting two hours of your life.
Rating: C for effort. After all, a crappy book makes for an even crappier movie.
Book or Movie: Movie