Petals on the Wind

 
Incest, murder, and gothic goings-on in book adaptation.
  • Review Date: May 23, 2014
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 85 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

No positive messages in this story about incest, murder, adultery, and suicide.

Positive role models

The characters on the show talk a lot about love but behave like soap opera characters rather than a real, loving family. The movie's main character is bent on revenge that causes the destruction of several lives.

Violence

A woman is beaten by her partner when she's pregnant; she stays with him and makes excuses for him. Characters threaten each other's lives; characters we've gotten to know die suddenly through suicide. A woman is burnt to death in bed as she screams.

Sex

No nudity, but couples, including an incestuous couple, are shown in bed or having sex in other places, moaning, and thrusting. There are references to child molestation, adulterous sex, and children born out of wedlock (but seemingly not cramping any of the characters' lives).

Language

A few curse words: "You know I'm a bastard." There also are many references to sin and children being "devil's spawn." There's also sexual language: "You spread your legs for your own brother."

Consumerism

This television movie is based on a book in a series by author V.C. Andrews; parents would probably not be particularly thrilled for tweens or even teens to be reading it.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink cocktails and beer at parties and in bars; a man uses alcohol as an excuse for assaulting his girlfriend.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Petals on the Wind is a gothic thriller that's based on a book series about a perverse family. This movie loosely follows the plot and characterization of the book of the same name, so those who have read it know what viewers are in for: brother/sister incest, which in this film progresses to passionate on-screen make-out sessions and (implied) sex (with no nudity). There also are references to child molestation, including a scene wherein a character who is purportedly under 18 is fondled (the actor playing that character, Bailey Buntain, is over 20, and looks it). Characters also have adulterous sex on-screen, resulting in an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. A man beats his girlfriend during an intimate scene; she stays with him and makes excuses for his violence. There are other disturbing violent images, including the sudden death-by-suicide of one character (her body is shown; no gore), and a woman being burnt to death in a bed as she screams. There are a few curse words, as well as many references to sex and sin, including very vulgar references to incest.

What's the story?

Picking up a decade after the events of Flowers in the Attic, which ended with the Dollanganger children escaping their attic prison and abusive family, PETALS ON THE WIND opens with an adult Cathy (Rose McIver) about to head to New York to pursue her dream of being a dancer, Christopher (Wyatt Nash) still longing for Cathy but working his way through medical school, and a miserable high-school-age Carrie (Bailey Buntain), who feels lost at her snooty girls' school and desperately wishes she could reconnect with her cruel mother, Corinne (Heather Graham). But Corinne is comfortably ensconced at Foxworth Hall, married to her handsome new husband Bart (Dylan Bruce), her joy only slightly marred by the gloomy presence of her bedridden mother, Olivia (Ellen Burstyn). Olivia knows Corinne's secrets, and she's not afraid to blurt them out; she's also hatching a scheme to get Olivia out of her hair for good. She's not the only one scheming, however. When Cathy starts losing the most important people in her life, one by one, she blames her mother. Now she's bent on revenge, and she'll stop at nothing to make sure Corinne gets what's coming to her.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Soapy, sudsy, and scandalous, this take on the much-beloved (and much-reviled) V.C. Andrews' book is a lot more fun than Lifetime's previous Flowers in the Attic, which seemed to be asking audiences to take the wacky dramatic turns seriously. This follow-up, despite being rushed to production mere months after Flowers pulled in millions of nostalgic viewers, is so over the top that it's a guilty pleasure that's a lot more pleasurable: Cathy and Chris giving each other significant looks, and panting kisses! Christopher's (invented-for-the-movie) bride-to-be walking in on the siblings making out! A super-hot Julian (Will Kemp) saying things like, "I'm a bastard when I drink"!

Of course, a lot was trimmed to make a long, plot-stuffed book compact enough for TV-movie running time. There's no creepy adoptive-father-turned-lover Paul and no bloody miscarriage at Cathy's big ballet audition, and Carrie's screen time is cut drastically. It may also make V.C. Andrews fans annoyed that some subplots were invented for this adaptation, including a saccharine-sweet girlfriend for Christopher (who, granted, doesn't have a lot to do in the novel) and having Corinne obsessed with renovating Foxworth Hall. What was the point of that, exactly? Still, this one's pretty fun and required watching for former 13-year-olds who read the original novel secretly in bed with a flashlight.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the book series that this movie is based on. When was it popular? Why? Did Mom or Dad read it? What did you think about it?

  • What audience is Lifetime attempting to woo with this movie? Does this type of movie fit in with the type of viewer the network is trying to attract?

  • What age are the characters in this movie? Do they look the ages they're portraying? Or do they look older, or younger? Is it hard to tell how much time is passing in the movie based on the ages the characters appear to be?

Movie details

DVD release date:September 16, 2014
Cast:Heather Graham, Rose McIver, Wyatt Nash
Director:Karen Moncrieff
Studio:Lionsgate
Genre:Drama
Topics:Brothers and sisters
Run time:85 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Petals on the Wind was written by

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Quality

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Adult Written bywonder dove November 12, 2014
age 15+
 

Highly enjoyed this one!!

Petals on the Wind is probably one of my new favorite Lifetime movies. This particular movie is one of the much better ones, usually Lifetime's acting is quite cheesy in many of their films, but this one surprised me! I am also loving V.C Andrews books, if you have not seen Flowers in the Attic (the original version or the remake) you should watch that first before digging into this one. It takes off with the lives of the three siblings who have been through so much, a mid-20's Beautiful Kathy (Rose McIver), Christopher (Wyatt Nash) and teenage Carrie (Bailey Buntain). When their step father dies and leaves them the house and a lot of money, the three are on their own. Kathy meets a handsome but cocky dancer and flees to New York with him to pursue her dream in ballet while Christopher and Carrie stay home. Christopher becomes a doctor and meets a super sweet girl he starts dating and Carrie's having troubles of her own at a snootie all-girls private school. Meanwhile, their mother Corinne (Heather Graham) is married to Bart (Dylan Bruce) living a life of luxury, apart from taking care of her verbally abusive mother Olivia (Ellen Burstyn) who is bedridden. But when a chain of events take a dramatic turn for the worse, everyone's lives are affected. Does it stay true to the book? Somewhat. Things were changed in both the first and second movies, but it's nothing too disappointing (in my own opinion). The story did seem to be rushed though, they could have either made it half an hour longer or split it into two parts. So this is fast paced. Violence has arguments, yelling, threats, bullying, fist fights, a car crash, a beating, a woman screams and burns in a fire, a suicide. Sexual content is strong for a TV movie, please beware...there is kissing, incest relationship between brother and sister who are shown in a steamy make-out session and off-screen sex scene, a woman seduces an older man then sleeps with him (he's shown behind her, thrusting against a wall for about 5 seconds), a man and half-dressed woman make-out on a couch which turns to oral sex (the scene is rather erotic, we hear her moan), a woman masturbates her husband in the bathroom which is not actually shown but the movements are obvious, a woman gets pregnant twice out of wedlock, a man fondles a much younger teenager which looks like molesting (for about 3 seconds), a video heard in a classroom about girls becoming women. Language is not bad, a few terms to evil and "sin" like being the devil's spawn, b@sterd, a few sexual references. Some drinking, a man appears to be an alcoholic and beats his girlfriend. Overall, not suitable for kids under 16 unless very mature.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byRoses101 September 22, 2014
age 14+
 

Nail-Biting MOVIE _Some SPOILERS_

I'm 13 and I have read Petals on the Wind more than 3 times- not because of the sex or violence-but it's beautiful prose... The movie is pretty good, there is approximately 4 love scenes, and in one of those siblings are making out. As far as I know, there is no cursing or swearing. In all due honesty THERE IS GREAT MESSAGES, unlike what other reviewers posted; for example: Revenge will not bury the whole deep inside your heart- of course you can clearly conceive this when Cathy says "What have I done" after the Foxworth Hall burns into ashes. I would tell you guys more, but then I would spoil the damn movie...Toodles! :")
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Teen, 13 years old Written byveronicammv July 31, 2014
age 14+
 

I had already read the book when I watched the movie

The book was horrible. Cathy (the protagonist) had sex with 3 different guys, she gets pregnant and has 2 kids. I HATED the book because it was just about Cathy and her "romantic" life and the movie is really bad. The worst book I've ever read. Seriously.
What other families should know
Too much sex

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