Diane Keaton’s ‘Wildflower’ (1991)

17Jan07

Wildflower is what I would call a modest movie. And by that I mean that Diane Keaton’s made-for-TV movie based on a young-adult novel does not pretend to be something that it is not. Keaton is cognizant that she is not making a film masterpiece — she is making a wholesome, family telefilm and she does not try to stretch the material beyond its means. With one exception, Keaton does not allow the tone to become too saccharine and she keeps the melodrama to a minimum.

On the whole while the acting is not outstanding it is solid, and Patricia Arquette and Reese Witherspoon’s performances keep the viewer engaged. Arquette’s portrayal of deaf, epileptic Alice does not read as cloying nor attention-mongering. Many portrayals of characters with disabilities very obviously beg for critical acclaim, e.g. Sean Penn’s Sam in I Am Sam. As usual, Arquette plays Alice very real and with a lot of heart. Reese Witherspoon’s Ellie is spunky and likable; Witherspoon brings a lot of energy to the role and to the movie.

Do not expect too much of this movie and you will not be disappointed. Keaton delivers on what the story promises: an engaging enough story that a family can enjoy together.

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