The latest film from Dublin-born musician turned screenwriter and director John Carney Flora and son opens today in limited release and hits Apple TV+ next Friday everywhere except Ireland, where it opens in full release on February 23. The film stars Eve Hewson, Jack Reynor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Oren Kinlan. Hewson plays a former wild child who is bored and has little contact with her son or her former underachieving musician husband. Fate smiles on her when she finds a guitar in a dumpster, and when her son rejects a gift, she goes online for lessons to learn how to play a six-string bat. Hewson is the daughter of U2 frontman Bono, and it’s no surprise that she sings like an angel and forms the basis for another actor in Carney’s on-screen oeuvre to demonstrate the healing power of music. Flora and son it was a breakthrough at Sundance last January, and Apple won it after a fierce bidding battle.
No director has shown such a penchant for taking the idiosyncrasies of music performance and using them as the basis for storytelling as Carney has done. He started out as the bassist for Irish rock band The Frames back in the ’90s, playing alongside Glen Hansard, who made his screen debut in Liabilities and starred with Czech musician Marketa Irglova in the famous film Carney. Ounces. Made for a tiny $160,000 Ounces won the World Audience Award at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, grossed $7 million and won an Oscar for Best Original Song Slowly decreasing.
Carney’s subsequent films included Sing Street And Start again (here he talks about his eternal regret of letting Harvey Weinstein talk him out of his original great title. Can a song save your life?). The film stars Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Maroon5’s Adam Levine, James Corden and Hailee Steinfeld. Watch how a young Dublin boy and former busker used his passion for music to tell compelling stories on screen.