Did Lifetime's Flowers in the Attic Bloom for You?

Flowers in the Attic LifetimeSibling love takes on a whole new meaning in Lifetime’s adaptation of V.C. Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic, which debuted Saturday (8/7c). But did you think the cabler’s take on the incestuous tale was sinfully good or devil’s-spawn bad?

Before you weigh in, a brief recap: Everything looks rosy as we meet the golden Dollanganger family: mom Corinne (Heather Graham, Scrubs), dad Christopher Sr., son Christopher Jr., daughter Cathy (Kiernan Shipka, Mad Men) and twins Carrie and Cory. Everything’s rosy – even if Corinne at times seems decades younger than her teen offspring – until Christopher Sr. is killed in an accident.

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Deep in debt, Corinne tells the children their only hope is to return to her wealthy family’s home in Virginia. What she does not tell them, at least not at first: She and her parents are estranged, because she fell in love with and eventually married her father’s younger half-brother. Yep, Christopher Sr. was actually Corinne’s uncle. (And if that icks you out, it’s probably best you don’t continue reading.)

“Love doesn’t always come when you want,” she foreshadows advises the children. “Sometimes it just happens against your will.”

Corinne’s plan is to ease her way back into her father’s good graces (and his will). And while she does that, she tells her wary kids, they’ll have to be stashed up in the estate’s spacious attic with only her and their harsh grandmother (Ellen Burstyn, Political Animals) to visit. She promises it will only last a day or two.

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Two years later, the jig is up. Christopher and Cathy realize that their mother has moved on – she even has a new man (played by Dylan Bruce, Orphan Black), and she’s never going to tell anyone about her four secrets upstairs. To make matters worse, Grandma is convinced that the two oldest Dollanganger kids are getting it one (something about them being born of wicked seed)… so naturally, they wind up getting it on.

When the teens do kiss (and eventually make love), it’s as wrong as it is inevitable. And icky. But even more disturbing: Mom Corinne has secretly been poisoning her brood via arsenic-powdered donut, a tactic that eventually kills Cory. And when Christopher learns that their grandfather actually died seven months before, he decides it’s time to go.

Thanks to a claustrophobia-paralyzed Grandma, a rope out the window and a sympathetic servant, the surviving kids make a run for it and catch the first train out of their personal hell. As the screen fades to black, Cathy vows that they’ll someday get revenge on their MIA mom.

Shipka is the best thing about the remake, but even she can’t make the tawdry tale into more than a designed-to-titillate movie-of-the-week. Kudos to Burstyn, though, who somehow manages to give Grandma some depth between the switch beatings and the Bible quoting.

That’s what we thought, and now it’s your turn. Grade Flowers in the Attic via the poll below, then back up your choice in the comments. And remember: God is always watching!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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45 Comments
  1. i thought this version was better than the first movie. it stayed truer to the book. vc andrews is one of my favorite authors. i have read almost every single one of her books. they should make more movies based on her novels.

    • Sheila White says:

      It was better than that movie, but I think they made the grandmother nicer than she actually was. If they decide to make another V.C Andrews movie I hope they use her original work and not the one’s they spun off after she passed

  2. Bob Lamm says:

    I thought Ellen Burstyn was great, Kiernan Shipka did admirably for a 14-year-old forced to carry a very shoddy script, and Heather Graham was absolutely awful.

  3. Tim says:

    Yeah, Heather was wretched. The boy who played Cristopher was really good.

  4. alistaircrane says:

    OMFG that was awesome! That was CAMP at its glorious finest!!!! More, please!!!

  5. christine says:

    Ellen Burstyn was the stand out. Shipka is a good actress but miscast. I thought Heather Graham was better than expected. I would have liked it better if it was more atmospheric and visually richer. The story is over the top and would benefit from that sort of treatment

    • dude says:

      Yeah, I found it odd, given the fact that Lifetime is probably the perfect place for this movie, they didn’t really embrace the camp factor. It was almost as if they wanted to make this a serious drama or something and puh-lese.

    • Kim R says:

      I agree. Ellen Burstyn was definitely the stand out. She was fantastic as the grandmother. I didn’t care for Heather as the mom and Shipka would not have been my pick for Cathy at all. Her voice was so deep for a teen which, for some reason, stood out to me.
      The book is what it is so those element that was recapped as “icky” is part of the plot. I read these books in high school. I wonder if they will do Petals in the Wind next? I hope they recast Cathy. Just my opinion. :)

      • Faye says:

        You are right. Shipka’s character Cathy appearance just didn’t sit right with me; her voice was a bit low, her hair looked terrible like it was a wig very stiff and lifeless. The twins were a bit too old, I believe they were toddlers around 4, The older siblings I believe were suppose to be around 15/16 I don’t know why they couldn’t go by the book. Oh well. C’est la vie (that’s life)

        I hope they make ” Petals on the Wind” , “If There Be Thrones”, “Seeds of Yesterday”,
        and “Garden of Shadows”

        • Faye says:

          I also meant to mention. The mother was too flaky. If they are to make the other books into movies, I would replace Keirnan Shipka. Heather Gram would be out of the picture since the movie killed her off. In the book, she isn’t killed till the third novel ‘If There be Thorns’ trying to save cathy.

  6. Linda Stevens says:

    It was sinfully good..I enjoyed the movie very much..Stayed pretty true to the book..Parts that didn’t weren really important.. Except for the hair..Christopher love Cathy’s hair to the point where ther was no way he would have cut it..But that’s only mild.Love scenes between the two weree good and not overly done..Don’t know if I agree that the rape scene should have been left out because Cathy did forgive him and still loved him. Anyway all overly It was great.I would enjoy any movies about Flowerrs in the Attic..Was a great Series and will alwayys be one Of V.C. Andrews classics.Flowers in the Attic..And V.C. Andrews dared to take us there.KiernanShipka and the Boy who played Christopher did their roles great actually they all did…Would love to see more

  7. Diann McDaniel says:

    I thought it was an AWFUL movie. Why would anyone even want to make a movie like this?? Nothing at all good about it. Lies, an awful mother and grandmother, incest, death of a child due to being poisoned by the mother, etc., etc., etc. One of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.

  8. Khorrie says:

    Awful, terrible, horrific. Heather Graham forgot how to act and none of the child actors seemed to know how, either. I was hoping for so-bad-it’s-good, but this was just plain bad.

  9. Joanna says:

    Ellen Burstyn made the grandmother seem nice. She def. doesn’t show ANY compassion in the book. Heather Graham was so so so terrible. Christopher Sr. was supposed to be gorgeous.
    Kiernan Shipka was good, as was Chris and Carrie. Cory – terrible.
    They changed the ending too which is lame.

    • Lyndsey says:

      I thought Burstyn did a great job of combining the Grandmother of the first book with the “Olivia” of the 5th book. In that prequel we get to see how the story unfolded through her eyes and how tempted she was to love the children as much as she had loved their parents. If you combine the character through the entire storyline then you get where the depth of Burstyn’s portrayal comes from (though I still adore Louise Fletcher in the role). The movie even captured (like in the book) the Olivia did warn the children about the sweets (not excusing her though…..).

  10. Peachy says:

    The original movie and the rewrite had an enormous flaw, in that the oldest boy and Cathy were too old for the part. Of course that made the story a little less believable.
    However, I loved the story and have seen the previous movie which had a different ending. I thought the original movie ending where the children came downstairs during their mom’s wedding ceremony for all to see, was much better than escaping through the window.
    I thought all actors in the movie did an excellent acting job. Ellen Burstyn was wonderful as was Kathy……………….

    • kerene Thomas says:

      I agree. I was so looking forward to the same ending, with the mother hanging on her wedding day…hahahaha!!! Either way I thought the movie was pretty well done and great job by Shipka..

  11. christine says:

    The ending had to change in order to be truer to the books and so they could film the subsequent books. “Petals on The Wind” should be next.

  12. Disappointed says:

    The horrible acting by Heather Graham ruined this movie for me. Too bad, I had high hopes and thought they’d improve on the original. It was great that it was truer too the book, but who casted it? How could they not see how epically bad Heather Graham was? The grandmother was good, and Cathy and Chris were pretty decent. They are the only reasons I watched the whole thing.

  13. Isobel says:

    Apparently the makers wanted Ellen Burstyn and Lifetime wanted Heather Graham…

  14. Ashley says:

    “Deep in debt, Cathy tells the children their only hope is to return to her wealthy family’s home in Virginia.”

    *Corinne, right?

  15. Fatima says:

    I thought this remake was completely horrible. None of them could act. The original was definately better. I can’t forget about how adorable Cory was in the original. I have never read the book, so I do not know how true the original was to it. However, I do know the suspense was way greater and it moved me more than the remake.

  16. Robert says:

    I thought it was ok and it was more true to the book but, I turned away when the incest scenes was on. I strangely did not get a 1950’s vibe, the only time it felt like that era was when Corrine gave them the TV. I hope the sequel Lifetime has planned will feel true to the era it takes place in and it most likely will have different actors because of the aging of the characters.

  17. Jill says:

    This was definitely more true to the book- except neither movie’s ending matched the book. I recently re-read the original book in anticipation for this movie- and I actually think the drama of stealthily leaving through the door with the key Christopher made, and sitting in the train as you see the grandmother open the curtains to see where they had gone, would have been more exciting. There wouldn’t have been any servant who would have helped them (and there was no fence being built in the book). There is a lot that happens in in that time in the attic… they didn’t show the desperation the children felt when the grandmother starved them for weeks, where Christopher had to feed the twins his own blood.. I wonder if it would have been better to have this as a 2 night mini series so that the desperation ad tension could have been built better. Still, enjoyed the campiness, and will watch the sequel.

  18. Pedyfile says:

    I wanted to see more sex from the kids. The book described it in full detail this movie didn’t delve deep into that subject…

  19. Stephanie says:

    I thought the acting was horrible! We decided to watch the original first, may have been a mistake. I know the Lifetime movie was more true to the book, the original was just better to me (like the acting). The Lifetime version seemed like it moved fast. Was not a fan!!

  20. Amanda says:

    I was able to see it last night and surprised me how much I really liked it. The 80s movie was horrible but this one was so true to the book. I love Kiernan Shipka on “Mad Men” and she was so great, as was Ellen Burstyn and Mason Dye. I didn’t mind Heather Graham too and I liked seeing Dylan Bruce from “Oprhan Black”. It was well done for me and I can’t wait for the sequel which hopefully will be out next year.

  21. M says:

    ALL the actors did a GREAT job. It has been a long time since I read the book, but it was true to the book except I’m pretty sure the daughter/sister got pregnant. Anyway, everyone gave a terrific performance. Heather Graham was SUPPOSED to be flighty. That is who the mom IS. Good movie. Hope they continue with the rest.

    Looking forward to Lizzie Borden!

  22. Cate Amos says:

    The trailer was so much better than the full-length film. At least it stuck closer to the book than the original adaptation. I’m on the fence about spending two hours of my life watching the sequel, but I’m sure I’ll cave just to see what Lifetime does with it.

  23. HeatherGrahamSucks says:

    I was looking so forward to this remake because it was supposed to be truer to the original book, and it was, but … OMG… Heather Graham’s pathetic excuse of a “performance” just ruined the entire movie for me. She is stoic, frigid, incapable of changing body or facial expressions, and she’s rushing through her lines so quickly and is absolutely detached from this character. She’s totally phoning this in – or high on mescalum. Every time she’s on screen I cringe.

  24. Steve says:

    i thought it was pretty good, and the Kathy young chick was HOTTTTTT, can’t blame the brother there ;) jk jk thats gross, but yea she was fine.

  25. Cinthia Lopez says:

    I love this movie although their are disturbing things that did not affect my opinion on the great movie. The actors really are strong and powerful to play the wicked but entertaining characters they did. I give it a two thumbs up and hope to see a squeal.

  26. Vinka says:

    I have been waiting for them to make a decent movie of this book for forever! The first movie was awful! I thought this movie would be a lot better but it was only a notch up from the first. At least it stayed truer to the book than the first movie. But wow…Heather Graham? What and awful casting. The mansion…awful. This was supposed to be a really huge mansion. And really…they had to even but a stupid sign over the doorway entrance, in case you weren`t sure it was Foxworth Hall? It was like a bad school play. They could have been more mean with the Grandmother. I just could buy into the acting for any of the characters. Bart Winslow was supposed to have a mustache…Cathy ended up having a psychological desire for mustaches on men in her future affairs with men because of her encounter with Bart when she kisses him as he sleeps. And they never cut Cathy`s hair in the book! None of the Dollangangers were amazingly beautiful like they were supposed to be in the book. Maybe Chris was good looking but Cathy? She`s not an ugly girl at all but she wasn`t this fair gorgeous beauty like they made her out to be in the book. Cathy is supposed to have long beautiful hair but instead this girl has short lifeless dull hair. They made everything in the movie mediocre. So of course the book readers are left disappointed. And Chris was studying books like made and already starting to be brilliant while they were up in the attic. He had the encyclopedias and was already wanting to become a doctor. The whole love affair thing came off as really creepy in the movie. In the book it`s still creepy but you end up having mixed feelings about it and you kind of turn a blind eye. But Cathy in the book isn`t all “Hey Chris, I liked how it felt. Wasn`t it great“. In the book she`s all creeped out about it and she`s all mixed up about it. In this movie, they make her out to be like the devil`s advocate. And the ending of this movie! WHY!!!??? That just ruined it all. If they just left the ending the way it was in the book, I could have overlooked all the rest but they just had to make the ending so cheesy! Especially with the Grandmother whining. That just ruined it for me. I hear that they already have a Petals on the Wind movie in the works but man…it sounds like they might just butcher this one….considering it takes place 10 years later.

    You know I had such high hopes for this movie, only because I really wanted someone to make a movie that would give justice to the books. I once read an article somewhere that David Fincher (he directed Seven, Fight Club, The Game and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) dreamed of adapting this book to film. He wanted to make it into a dark drama….and considering how awesome his other films were, I think he would have made an amazing film. I`d been dreaming of a film of that caliber for this book ever since I read it 20 years ago, and when I heard of this remake I was somehow hoping it might be as good as I was hoping. Yet, after watching it, I`m left very disappointed.

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