‘Flowers’ is unafraid to explore mental health issues
By Udeshi Seneviratne,Illustrator
If you are a fan of gorgeous cinematic visuals, incredibly talented actors, and heart-wrenching scenes of Olivia Colman crying on screen, this series is for you.
The BAFTA nominated show Flowers is an enchanting tale of an idiosyncratic family told through a dark comedic lens which displays mental illness with honesty. Season one focuses on the depression of the father, Maurice Flowers (Julian Barratt), a children’s book author struggling to find inspiration and meet deadlines. The plot starts with Mr. Flowers going into the garden one gloomy morning, attempting to hang himself from a tree, but to his surprise the branch snaps. He drags the chair and rope, disappointed, back into the house. Mother Deborah Flowers (played by Oscar-winner Olivia Colman) is a colourful music teacher. She is clueless to the bleak household events and always seems to be on the verge of bursting from the mental toil of keeping up happy appearances for their neighbours.
The story also revolves around the family’s twins—both 25, living at home, and constantly bickering. The sister, Amy (Sophia di Martino), has a rugged goth aesthetic and a love for composing music. The brother Donald (Daniel Rigby) uses his time to invent half or fully useless machines—a by-product of his awkward man-child characteristics. I thoroughly enjoy watching Donald’s excitement while revealing the works he deems to be exceptional. His “flying car” invention is literally just metal sheets and fans bolted to the doors.
Creator of the show, Will Sharpe, adds elements of his Japanese heritage by creating and playing the role of Shun. Shun is an illustrator from Japan with a heavy accent and actions that come off as a slightly offensive stereotype. He is there to help Mr. Flowers illustrate his books. The character provides honest and poetic advice to the Flowers that stem from his upsetting background—a story that will break your heart in episode five. Sharpe also illustrates his bipolar disorder by colouring the first and second seasons differently, both structurally and visually.
Flowers depicts its characters to be eccentric, loud, and almost always chaotic. Underneath it all, we see that all of these characters are struggling in their own ways. At the end of the second season, we learn how Shun was brought to the dysfunctional British family. He left us with a quote that vocalises the importance of holding on to life: “The difference between life and death… so small. But if you can hold…” The show is currently available to stream on Netflix in Canada.