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Flower and Garnet (Movie Post)

The Movie

Flower and Garnet starts out with a funeral. What follows is the story of a family left behind. Callum plays Ed Buttle, a widower and father who, some 8 years after his wife died giving birth to their second child, remains emotionally closed and distant. Unable to connect with his newborn son, he leaves 8 year old Flower to take up parenting duties with Garnet which she does without complaint. The film picks them up around 8 years later when Flower is a verging on womanhood teenager, Garnet is an isolated yet curious child and Ed is an emotional cripple unable to show affection to his lover or his children. As the film unfolds, Flower gets a boyfriend and tries to interest Ed in his son. Garnet eats dirt and plays with guns. Ed remains oblivious.

The IMDB page: Flower and Garnet (2002)
Flower and Garnet is written and directed by Keith Behrman whose directing credits include Da Vinci's Inquest (but not while Callum was in it) and This Is Wonderland.

Of the other actors, you may have seen Jane McGregor (Flower) in an episode of Supernatural ("Hookman") and Chilton Crane (Donna) shows up in a variety of Canadian based productions including The L Word ("Lassooed," "Livin' La Vida Loca" and "Left Hand of the Goddess"), Stargate SG-1 ("Ex Deus Machina"), Supernatural ("Croatoan"> and The 4400 (recurring role in Season 4).

Cast / Characters:

Callum Keith Rennie
Jane McGregor
Alisha Penev
Colin Roberts
Dov Tiefenbach
Kristen Thomson
Craig Olejnik
Chilton Crane
Philip Granger
Arnie Walters
Eliza Murbach
Allan Lysell
Mitra Loraz
Linsea O'Shea
Dimitri Milani

Ed Buttle
Flower Buttle
Young Flower
Garnet Buttle
Mr Hansen
Flower and Garnet's Mum
Mr Cooper

Year: 2002

Runtime: 103 mins

Country: Canada

IMDB rating: 6.8/10, 370 votes

Genre: Drama

11 wins & 4 nominations

2004 Boston Independent Film Festival
Won - Grand Jury Prize Narrative - Keith Behrman

2003 Flanders International Film Festival
Nominated - Grand Prix - Keith Behrman

2003 Genie Awards
Won - Claude Jutra Award - Keith Behrman
Nominated - Genie Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role - Colin Roberts

2003 Leo Awards
Won - Feature Length Drama: Best Lead Performance - Male - Callum Keith Rennie
Won - Feature Length Drama: Best Musical Score - Peter Allen
Won - Feature Length Drama: Best Supporting Performance - Male - Dov Tiefenbach
Outstanding Achievement Award - Individual Best Supporting Actress - Kristen Thomson
Nominated - Best Editing Michael - John Bateman
Nominated - Feature Length Drama: Best Lead Performance - Male - Colin Roberts

2003 Vancouver Film Critics Circle
Won - VFCC Award Best Actor: Canadian Film - Callum Keith Rennie
Won - Best Director: Canadian Film Keith Behrman
Won = Best Film:Canadian

2002 Vancouver International Film Festival
Won - Best New Western Canadian Director Feature Film - Keith Behrman

2003 Victoria Independent Film & Video Festival
Won - Best Canadian Feature - Keith Behrman

9 user comments

One example:
Very moving film

If you want a little background information on this film, read the other users' comments. I am just going to explain my view on this movie :)

Overall, it has spectacular cinematography. It deals with grippingly real issues. You are able to connect with and understand the characters. The actors are really perfect for their roles - individually and as a family (played by Callum Keith Rennie, Jane McGregor, and Colin Roberts).

All in all, I appreciate that I got to see the film. It is definitely an improvement from mainstream media that is constantly coming out. (Not to say there isn't any good mainstream movies, I'm just saying this in a general sense).

Beware for those of you with short attention spans! (I blame the fast-paced mainstream media, he he). I mean, I am also a little impatient but I didn't find myself squirming even once! It had my full focus and attention. You will feel for the story.

I recommend it for just about anyone (more so those who are in their mid-teens and up).

If you are into the art of film, you will appreciate seeing "Flower & Garnet".

You can find all the comments here.

Callum Quotient: About 75%.

(From Cap it! Before I die of Waitin')


  • Barb: "So how did you lose your licence?"
    Ronnie: "Driving under the influence of alcohol. The suspension is totally unfair. You know, they should measure out how far you drive, and I only drove two blocks - so it's totally unfair."

  • Barb: "My neighbours are going to think I'm a whore."
    Ed: "Why would you say that?"
    Barb: "Because your truck is parked out front of my place for an hour a couple of times a week."
    Ed: "There's a big difference between having a lover and being a whore."
    Barb: "I don't know, there's a grey zone."
    Ed: "I told you this when we started."
    Barb: "It's been a year, Ed. Everyone knows. Everyone. They do. Everyone."
    Ed: "My kids don't know."
    Barb: "So what if they did? So what? Anyway, Flower knows."
    Ed: "You tell her?"
    Barb: "No, I didn't tell her. Flower's quite capable of figuring it out on her own."
    Ed: "Garnet doesn't know."
    Barb: "I don't think you know what Garnet knows."

  • Garnet: "When Barb stays over at night, does it hurt what you guys do?"
    Ed: "What are you talking about? Barb doesn't stay over. She has dinner here sometimes. We talk at night sometimes, but she doesn't stay over. What made you think that she did?"
    Garnet: "Nothing."

  • (Ed and Garnet go fishing in a boat)
    Garnet: "I have to pee."
    Ed: "Pee over the edge."
    Garnet: "What if I fall?"
    Ed: (hands Garnet his empty beer bottle) "Pee in here."
    Garnet: (tries to pee in bottle) "It won't come."
    Ed: "Go cross-eyed."
    Garnet: "What?"
    Ed: "Cross your eyes. It helps."
    Garnet: (crosses eyes and pees. Looks pleased with himself) "How'd you know that?"
    Ed: (Also looks pleased with himself): "Ancient dad wisdom."

  • Colin Roberts was cast in the role of Garnet four days before shooting began.

  • Colin Roberts, being a minor, could only be on the set for so many hours a day. So the (very emotional) scene where Garnet climbs into the crib and Ed talks to him, is actually Callum Keith Rennie talking to Director Keith Behrman who is in the crib instead of Colin Roberts.

  • Linsea O'Shea is credited with playing Flower and Garnet's mum, but the mother does not make an appearance in the film.

Interesting scenes:

  • In the opening scenes, 8 year old Flower puts on her gumboots and goes to the neighbour's house to retrieve her baby brother. She brings him home and together she and Ed put him in the cradle that was made up for him before his mother died. No words are spoken.

  • Garnet eats dirt - to see what tastes like, then feeds his icy-pole (iced lolly?) to a stray cat, washes it off, and continues to eat it. A very random scene but evidence of Garnet’s childish eccentricities. Cute and weird at the same time.

  • Ronnie's nose whenever it's in profile. Seriously, that guy has one interesting profile.

  • After encouraging Ed to buy Garnet a birthday present on his own, Ed gives Garnet a BB gun. Flower is horrified. Ed is delighted. It’s a scene that shows Ed’s cluelessness but also his desire to please. It also highlights the differences between Flower and Ed and their separate understanding of parental responsibility.

  • Without giving too much away, Ed in the hospital with Flower as he tries to be there for her but - because of the experience with his wife – can’t. The terror in Callum's eyes is palpable.

  • Ed lifts Garnet out of the crib after telling him it wasn't his fault Ed was so cold after Garnet was born. It breaks my heart every time.


Does he die?

You really want to know? Are you sure? Really sure? Well, then. (highlight to read)
::No, he does not.::

Articles/ Interview

(The following is from the diary Callum Keith Rennie's kept while shooting Flower and Garnet. It's recommended reading for anyone who has seen the film - and anyone who hasn't.)

Callum Keith Rennie's Adventures In Ashcroft

It’s possible that Callum Keith Rennie is Canada’s busiest actor. In the last ten years he has co-starred in the series Due South and My Life As a Dog, appeared in more than a dozen other series and in almost 40 features and movies of the week. In the following diary, he talks about his most recent film, Keith Behrman’s Flower & Garnet, the story of ten year-old boy whose mother died during his birth. Rennie plays the father, Ed, who is forced to reconcile with his son when he withdraws into the countryside. The film also stars Colin Roberts as Garnet and Jane MacGregor as his sister, Flower.

February 2001 John Buchan (the Toronto casting director) sends Liz Hodgson, my manager, the script for Flower & Garnet while I’m working on Slapshot 2. Their money isn’t set, so I’m not in a rush to read it. Liz reads it and loves it. I read part of it and push it aside. What’s a flower and garnet?

May 2001 My manager’s enthusiasm causes me to reconsider and I read the script with fervor. Enjoy. Think I’m too old for Garnet. He’s eight in the script. I think I can play ten if I shave. I’m struck by the structure of the piece. It’s very sophisticated and well crafted. I tell Liz that I’m interested.

July Keith Behrman, the director/writer and I meet in a West End coffee shop. He looks like Jesus. We talk for a long time, but not about the movie. Our conversation has very little to do with him being a director and me being an actor. I drink four cups of coffee and keep my hat on the whole time. My hair has been dyed blonde for my role as a sociopath hair collector in Dice. I figure if I take my hat off, he’ll never believe I can play a father. I tell him I want to be in the film. He says he doesn’t know what is going on. I can’t figure him out. I leave the meeting thinking Keith is an interesting person who is going to make an interesting film.

August “They want to have a meeting with you,” my manager says.
I say, ”What do you mean a meeting?”
“A meeting,” she replies.
Then I start to rant to myself, “Do you mean a meeting or a reading? Am I in LA or Vancouver?”
“A meeting.”
“A meeting and I’m reading? So it’s an audition. I’ve been in this business forty years [I think this should probably be "for ten years"]. Don’t they know who I think I am? And I’m getting scale?”
“Yeah, okay.”

September Accidentally, I’m at a party of Lynne Stopkewich’s and run into Flower and Garnet’s producer, Trish Dolman. I feel uncomfortable, then leave with a girl I barely know.

September 11 World crisis creates a desire to work on more life affirming projects.

September 25 I’m scheduled to read for the producer and director. I don’t have enough time to prepare, so I think I’ll fool them with snappy pants and sensible shoes. Beforehand, I’m a bit anxious, so I smoke outside on the stairwell. A guy yells, “I guess this sign about not smoking on the stairwell applies to everyone else in the f***ing world, but you.”
I get a good feeling about the meeting.
We work some of the scenes. Keith directs me and I don’t understand what it is he wants from me. I think to myself, “What would Bruce Greenwood do in a situation like this?”
I leave having no idea if what I did was right or not, or what he did was right or not.

October 1 I fool them with my talent, but conflicts arise as the producer and director try to decide whether to shoot now or in the spring. I get more offers for work.
Costa Rica = warm weather, golf, more money.
Flower & Garnet is being shot in Ashcroft, BC.
Ashcroft = cold weather, no golf, little money, hard work.
Ashcroft. Ashcroft. Ashcroft.

November 4 Get possession of a loft prior to show starting. Note to self – Never buy a place right before a show. Keith tells me, “You can’t really prepare to work on my films.” I say ‘ok’ and go hit a bucket of balls at the driving range. Note to self: Never listen to the director.

November 8 Read-through. Meet Colin Roberts for the first time. He blows his face onto the glass windows of the production office. Seems perfect. Meet Jane MacGregor. She seems perfect as my daughter.

November 12 On the day before production begins, I drive to Ashcroft with my dog, but without a map. I take the Coquihalla; there is a sign the size of a postage stamp that says “Ashcroft.” Check into hotel. The room is very small. The carpet is suspect. I ask myself, “What am I doing here?” Oh yeah, I signed up for this. Note to self: Never touch the carpet.

November 13 I try to put myself in the mood for the funeral scene, but a wind comes up off the lake and blows my soul right out of my body. I spend the rest of the show trying to get it back.

November 14 Seeing as I’ve only had the final schedule three days prior to shooting, I think I’m lucky that I don’t have an emotional scene off the top. Wait, on day two I have to go from laughing to crying in the same scene? In a gravel pit with a gun? Phil Granger plays my best friend, Fred. He makes me laugh. I have to deal with the crying part on my own. I haven’t found a working dialogue with Keith yet, at least that I understand in human terms.
The dog likes the hotel.

November 15 My cel phone doesn’t work.

November 16 The first week moves fast. Very ambitious boat sequence. I keep acting to a minimum whilst trying not to capsize camera into lake. Keith is great with Colin. Not exactly sure what I’m doing yet. Am I doing too much? Am I doing too little? Where is divine intervention when you need it?

November 19 Keith has described his films as “pointillist pieces where it’s all made up of small bits.” That’s what week two is for me. None of my sequences are longer than 3/8 of a page. Still caught in good day, bad day. Some scenes are par, some are bogies. Note to self: Try to be scratch golfer.

November 20 Still haven’t found what I’m looking for. But you can’t always get what you want. I think I need some new CDs. Everyone is very supportive.

November 21 The press machine has started up and they want to talk to me. It’s always distracting to talk to people while you’re working. They interview hockey players after the game.

November 22 My cel phone still doesn’t seem to be working. Keith is directing me like an eight-year old. I think he’s gotten my name confused with Colin. I like it.

November 23 I have paranoid thoughts that everything is a trick to put myself in the mind of Ed. Everyone is a conspirator. I consider therapy.

November 25 Options: Should I spend the weekend in Ashcroft or drive to Vancouver where it’s raining like the clickhammers of hell?

November 28 There seems to be something wrong with my trailer. Either the power is off or the heat isn’t working. Sometimes both. It’s very cold. As far as the film goes, I’m getting into it. Keith demands a certain honesty and reality. Simplicity. I peel my onion.

November 29 Well-oiled machine. I settle and start to have fun. I think Keith is one of the best directors I’ve ever worked with. I think Trish Dolman is one of the best producers I’ve ever worked with. I wonder what she’s going to do about my trailer. I start asking the other actors about their trailers.

November 30 I can’t make art with the fillings rattling out of my head.
Scene 77: We’re supposed to shoot an outdoor birthday party, a barbecue. It’s snowing, but not gently. It’s windy and blowing. We shoot anyhow. The burgers are frozen. The drinks are thick. My hotel is filled with local miscreants. Every Thursday my hotel is turned into the town’s courthouse. The police say hello; they recognize me from the numerous speeding tickets I’ve received.

December 1 I drive home for the weekend with another actor, lose my wallet, and spend the weekend in Vancouver like I’m on welfare.

December 3 My trailer is cold every morning. I consider cutting my dog open and crawling inside to stay warm.

December 4 Padi Mills (also one of the best line producers I’ve worked with) makes the following note in the production report after having shot for two and a half weeks inside a very small house with sub-zero temperatures outside: “CANNIBALISM: Crew dining on each other’s brains. Humour is rampant. Callum is happy.”

December 5 The jigsaw puzzle of the film is starting to come together. Keith trusts me more. Jane MacGregor is a talented young actor. She’s grounded, present and got a good slap. Dov Tiefenbach is insane.

December 6 My wallet shows up at the Shell station in Cache Creek. The cash is still inside. There’s something to be said for small towns.

December 7 The dog bowl is frozen in the trailer. I talk on my cell phone even though it still doesn’t work.

December 10 Great little scenes working with Kristen Thompson. I like being in scenes with her— they’re comfortable.

December 11 My last day in Ashcroft. The final scene is intense. Colin, our child actor is wrapped. I can’t connect with pieces of tape that I am supposed to play off. Certain scenes I can connect with tape, but not this one. So Keith gets into the crib and plays Colin.

December 13 We move back to Vancouver. My cel phone is working again. Everything’s working

December 14 We’re shooting in a hospital. My dog’s at the vet.

December 15 Last day. Flower gives birth. I finally get what Ed is afraid of. At wrap Keith gives flowers to everyone on set. I realize I am jaded and don’t want to be.

Epilogue The film is done. I’m sad. It’s probably the most transformative work I’ve ever done.

Archived on the the_ckr_files here.

Excerpt from "The Smoking Section Must Be Sold Out" by Rita Zekas:

Rennie has been acting for a decade and divides his time between Vancouver and L.A., where he's working on his golf swing.

Between strokes, he shot the festival film Flower & Garnet.

"I don't know how to describe it without sounding cheese ball," he demurred. "My character is the heart of 'dadness.' It's about loss, a poem about family and what's beautiful about it. It's about a kid growing up alone; it's about how a family deals with loss. My character is buried alive with his (dead) wife and is scratching at the surface. I'm a distant dad.

"I'm very proud of it."

Archived on the the_ckr_files. Full article here.

Excerpt from "Keith Behrman's flower & garnet: bridging the gap between the inner and outer worlds" by Dale Drewery:

It's pouring rain, but Callum Keith Rennie prefers to sit outside so he can smoke. Dressed in a green baseball jacket and a red ball cap, he looks like a Christmas tree that's just stumbled out of bed. I last interviewed Rennie six years ago on the release of Bruce McDonald's Hard Core Logo, and it was a tough exchange. "I was chippie back then," he admits. Rennie has made his living playing the bad guy and was in the running for just such a role when the September 11th tragedy occurred. "I just didn't feel like that was what I wanted to do," he says. "I wanted something more positive, sweeter and kinder. So I just held on to Flower. It was exactly what I wanted to do. I knew it was going to be miserable. It was going to be cold. And it was not going to be as much money." He was dead right about the cold. Although Flower & Garnet was originally intended to be shot in Saskatchewan, financing kept it in British Columbia. It was eventually shot in the interior town of Ashcroft in the chilly month of November. "W hen I'm watching the film," Rennie says with a shiver, "I'm not going, 'that was a brilliant scene.' I'm going, 'God, that was a cold morning,' like the scene when we were in the boat. The day started out sunny, but then it turned cold and it was just too hard to focus."

Ironically, the scene he describes is one of the best in the film. Ed, in an effort to connect with Garnet, has dragged him out of a warm bed to go fishing. Although Ed has packed a cooler full of beer, he's forgotten to bring worms, and Garnet must fish with a gummy bear for bait. Unable to restart the boat's motor, and fueled by alcohol and pent-up frustration, Ed throws the outboard overboard. Playing the broken and emotionally crippled Ed was an enormous challenge for Rennie, and he says the experience transformed him. "It was really hard for me to drop some of my shtick and be vulnerable. I can protect myself and do roles without being touched by them, but this one wasn't like that. This was like peeling the onion, and don't do anything you don't need to do. Just stand and deliver, and be as open and honest as you can possibly be."

Before filming began, Behrman told Rennie he couldn't really prepare for the role, that they would build on moments that worked, and leave behind anything that felt false. "So, with Callum, it was a process of continually just saying 'no,"' Behrman says. "No, that's not what we want. No, that's not good enough, I want more from you. I want you to just, take that away and be more of yourself. Be Callum." "Then Callum would come over to me," Trish Dolman says laughing, "and say, 'Keith wants me to be me. I don't know who me is! What am I supposed to do?"'

Rennie laughs at the absurdity of it all. "It's all true," he says. "That's one of the odd things about actors, I think. Complete self-obsession, with no understanding of ourselves. Because when Keith did ask that, I had no idea what he wanted. I thought, what does that mean? Who wants to see that? I don't even want to see that. That's why I'm doing this for a living, so I can be other people that I might get along with."

Colin Roberts's young age meant that he was on-set fewer hours per day than the rest of the cast, so Rennie, in his scenes with Roberts, was often playing off an on-tape Garnet. In one particular scene, a tense and emotionally charged moment between father and son, Rennie was having trouble responding to the tape. Behrman offered to sit in, taking what would be Garnet's place behind the bars of a baby's crib. "So Callum was looking down at me through these bars," Behrman says, "and it was a really neat thing because we just looked at each other and kept up eye contact until this thing started to develop, this energy and connection started to build up and it was really very beautiful and nice. It was toward the end of the shoot. It was fascinating because there was so much of him having to trust me, and me asking him to be vulnerable, forcing him not to rely on his little tricks in acting. I think it all culminated in this moment of just staring at each other."

When I asked Rennie what Behrman had said to him, he laughed out loud. "That's private!" he responded. "There are people in the world," he continued, "who see through my bravado, my blustery, flippant kind of attitude. Keith sees through all that, saw another quality and trusted that I'd be right for the movie. That's what he was constantly trying to get out of me. Stop that other stuff and be honest with myself. It became a piece that transformed me, because I was allowed to work as an actor in a different way and I was given something to do outside of that harder exterior that I normally present."

Archived on the the_ckr_files. Full article here.

Callum talks about Flower and Garnet in this interview from Open Your Eyes, a 2007 documentary about Canadian movies:

Callum also mentions Flower and Garnet in the following articles (also archived at the_ckr_files):

The Smouldering Man

Callum Keith Rennie is Mr Cool

Ramblin' Rennie Gets Rooted

Canadian Finds Fame's Glare Too Bright.


Breathtaking Flower
Believable and winning performances all around

Flower & Garnet begins with a birth and ends with a birth, and the difference between the two is the difference between despair and hope.

Garnet is an infant whose birth has caused his mother's death. Initially he is left with neighbours, as his grieving father (Callum Keith Rennie) cannot cope, but Garnet's sister Flower -- all of about seven or eight years old -- goes and fetches her baby brother and brings him home.

Flower & Garnet moves at once into present time, and baby Garnet is now a boy of eight. His sister Flower is a beautiful teenager and the anchor of his life; dad is still wandering around in some emotional no-man's-land of unexamined grief. Dad is clueless and withdrawn around his own children and about the same with his girlfriend.

And that's the set-up: A motherless child, a lonely young woman with adult responsibilities and a father who is present but emotionally unaccounted for.

As you'd expect with this sort of creation, the potential is there for tragedy and disaster. Events do take a grim turn or two in Flower & Garnet -- there is a brief flirtation with melodrama that doesn't quite work -- but that's not what it's all about.

The film is character-driven, subtle and believable. This is a coming-of-age tale for all three main players.

And the performances are entirely winning. As Garnet, Colin Roberts is a heartbreaker, all sad eyes and sweet nature. Callum Keith Rennie also falls into the "heartbreak" category with this performance as a bewildered father.

As Flower, an adolescent standing in that impossible place between childhood and adult life, Jane McGregor probably has the toughest role; she is breathtakingly good.

Writer/director Keith Behrman's work is smart and understated and he doesn't go around tying up loose ends. This is the sort of film that assumes thinking adults sometimes go to the movies. Incredible!

Thanks to Behrman and his cast, Flower & Garnet plays like a series of loving observations about people you will come to care about rather a lot.


Flower And Garnet
Reviewed by Ignatz Ratskiwatski

Vancouver writer-director Keith Behrman grew up in the wide open expanses of Saskatchewan, Canada, and, although Flower & Garnet is set against the bleak beauty of Ashcroft, British Columbia, a semi-desert landscape in the Canadian West, the sensibility in this his debut feature is pure prairie.

A quietly affecting, if somewhat chilly, study of an emotionally repressed widower (Callum Keith Rennie) and his two children, 16-year-old Flower (Jane McGregor) and her eight-year-old brother Garnet (Colin Roberts), the film effectively conveys the wide open spaces between people that make communication so difficult.

Ever since his mother died while giving birth to him, little Garnet has had to bear the brunt of his father's complete inability to come to terms with the loss. Ed (Rennie) is a pick-up driving, working-class guy who'd rather drink beer with his buddies and fire off a few rounds from his gun than deal with the needs of a withdrawn little boy.

That duty has always fallen on the shoulders of Ed's daughter Flower, who has been both mother and sister to the little tyke, taking care of everything from preparing his meals and taking him to school to organizing his birthday parties and buying the gifts. An adult in most ways, Flower is completing the transition by starting to become sexually active. As she does, she insists that her father take more responsibility for Garnet. Nominally, he accepts - a botched fishing outing ensues - but it soon becomes apparent that Garnet is adrift in the gulf between Flower's withdrawal of attention and his father's distant emotions.

At first Garnet makes the best of things. He wanders around, observing - and in one memorable scene, even tasting - the physical world around him. Watching Flower's friend Ronnie (Dov Teifenbach) burn ants with a magnifying glass (Ronnie may be 16, but he's a very young 16), the sensitive little guy responds to Ronnie's statement that the ants don't feel anything by saying, 'If they don't feel anything, why are they trying to run away?' When, in an attempt to do the right thing by Garnet, his dad buys him a BB gun for his birthday, a series of events leading to tragedy is set in motion.

Writer-director Behrman - who has a number of award-winning shorts to his credit - is a natural behind the camera. A nearly wordless opening ten minutes of the film efficiently and economically give us all the back story we need while deftly sketching in character detail and nuance. He punctuates the emotional drama on display with beautifully rendered random shots of the world surrounding his characters, both reinforcing the isolation they feel and hinting at the possibility of redemption.

For their parts, his cast members perfectly reflect Behrman's vision. Rennie IS the middle-aged, weather-beaten, former Marlborough Man gone slightly to seed, a type this writer (a prairie boy himself) knows very well, while Colin Roberts is effectively opaque as the taciturn Garnet. The real revelation here, however, is Flower's Jane McGregor. She masters the difficult task of portraying a girl/woman with one foot still in childhood and the other in full, glorious womanhood. She will be seen again, you can be sure.



Not exactly a fanfic inspiring movie, however, I did find Milk by dsudis and it's a lovely little coda to the film.

Callum talks about playing father-types roles in this CityTV interview - includes clips from the film.


Used copies available on Amazon US. See here.

Amazon.ca is out of stock. So popular is the CKR!

Final Thoughts

One of the things that really strikes you about this film is how quiet it is. The dialogue is stilted and full of pauses, and the soundtrack is sparse (and where it does appear, is usually the same lilting melody). But it's a film about silences, about what isn't said and what isn't out in the open, and the quiet emphasises the point.

I found it a curiously affecting film. I spent days afterwards thinking about it, still sort of feeling this heaviness that comes from watching it. It's not a joy to watch, and yes, it is a bit of a weepy at the end (but not because it's sad - it's hard to explain. And lets remember that I cry over puppies) but the experience is well worth it. And if you do watch it, you’ll be glad you did.

Callum plays the emotionally crippled Ed with a natural affinity for the part. I don't know whether it's his hair, his clothes, or something he's doing, but there’s something about the way he handles the part that makes him look quite different to his usual self. He looks like a man going through the motions, dressing without care in the morning (it’s the blue Florida t-shirt – you know he’s never been to Florida. It’s quite pathetic) and not giving a crap who notices. It’s one of his best roles but also one of his less attractive. Maybe it’s because he never smiles (the man has a killer smile).

It's a profound film, sad yet hopeful, and definitely recommended. Watch it on an afternoon so you can spend the evening processing.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 29th, 2009 03:59 pm (UTC)
\o/ This is an amazing movie, and one of his best performances. I'd add that the cinematography is gorgeous. It's a deliberately muted palette of color, and each shot is framed like a work of art.
May. 30th, 2009 01:55 am (UTC)
As a former film student, I really should have commented on the cinematography - but yes, it's deliberately muted and you can see in the screencaps how carefully each shot is framed. I'm especially fond of the Garnet point of view (eg. through the bars of the crib in the scene with Ed toward the end). It gives the film a kind of askew view, i think. Puts it a little off centre.

And definitely one of Callum's best performances. He was right to be proud. :)
May. 29th, 2009 11:08 pm (UTC)
... Callum plays Ed Buttle...

Okay, I was wondering when I read that the first time, but I forgot. Where did you get the last name? Was it ever mentioned? I can't remember. And IMDB lists only first names. Not that that means anything. Still. Curious!

Re: actors, Dov Tiefenbach was also in Snow Cake. Not that I remember seeing him in this. But I am an compulsive IMDB checker. I do seem to remember him in something else as well, but I can't remember what. And IMDB doesn't help. Hmpf.

I like the comment you chose!

After encouraging Ed to buy Garnet a birthday present on his own, Ed gives Garnet a BB gun. Flower is horrified. Ed is delighted. It’s a scene that shows Ed’s cluelessness but also his desire to please.

Wow, okay. I never... I think I never actually analyzed this movie, even in my head. But, yeah. He is delighted, isn't he? He wants to give him the best of all the presents. I remember now. He's toatlly disappointed when Garnet doesn't want to open his presents.

Without giving too much away, Ed in the hospital with Flower as he tries to be there for her but - because of the experience with his wife – can’t. The terror in Callum's eyes is palpable.

YES. It's a wonderful scene.

Still can't fill out the polls. :( (I'd say you should think about re-posting them, just the polls, but who knows if it'll actually help? Grr. Think about it though. If they don't work here in the next few hours and you want actually someone to fill them out, do the thing Neu111 did a while ago when she had the same problem: here and here.)

Callum's Adventures In Ashcroft will never be not awesome. ♥

Man, I haven't seen the City TV interview in a while. It's good, it's really, really good. As are the articles you chose to quote.

So, yes. YES. Great post. \c/

(And you know? I think F&G is one of the few actually good projects Callum did. Like, the Canadian movies? There is F&G, and HCL, and Last Night. And I think that's it. These are the really good Canadian films he made. Okay, where he had an actual character to play. WW is okay, and Whole New Thing is really good, but he just has a small role. I love Falling Angels but it's... uneven. Oh, and I thought Curtis's Charm was pretty awesome. But the Carl Bessai stuff. Yeah. No. Not for me. Secret: I actually think Normal is a pretty bad movie, even though Callum was great in it. /c\ )
May. 30th, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC)
Where did you get the last name? Was it ever mentioned?

Yes - but I can't remember where. I know if was there, because I thought they'd said "tuttle" or something and I had to search on a few variations to find the right name. IMDB doesn't mention it but a couple of the reviews do.

But, yeah. He is delighted, isn't he? He wants to give him the best of all the presents.

Callum is very understated throughout the film - but you can really *feel* him trying here. It's so heart breaking. He's right to be proud - he's done such a great job here. And maybe it's the directing too - it's like Keith Behrman has gotten everyone to hold back a little and it really works.

I think F&G is one of the few actually good projects Callum did. Like, the Canadian movies? There is F&G, and HCL, and Last Night.

Doing a little research, I came up with WW, Hard Core Logo, Last Night and Flower and Garnet as the Callum films I should see (and Twitch City which - thanks to this LJ community - I also bought. It's awesome!). So I was really keen to do the review. *g*
May. 30th, 2009 06:06 pm (UTC)
Callum is very understated throughout the film - but you can really *feel* him trying here. It's so heart breaking. He's right to be proud - he's done such a great job here.

Definitely. *agrees a lot*

And yeah, Twitch City is totally awesome. And I like Curtis's Charm too. A lot. *tempts*
May. 30th, 2009 02:07 am (UTC)

Awesome post. Thank you!
May. 30th, 2009 10:38 am (UTC)
Oops... obviously, I meant to answer mandy's post, but anyway, hi!

Edited at 2009-05-30 06:26 pm (UTC)
May. 31st, 2009 05:59 am (UTC)
Aw, the "Florida" t-shirt! Perfect video to embed. Cheers!
May. 30th, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Fic, there's also an Ed snippet by omphale23.

it’s the blue Florida t-shirt – you know he’s never been to Florida :) or should I say :(
both funny and sad, probably sadder than funny though.

You've done an amazing job of retrieving all those Callum's quotes about the movie.
And each time I read it, Callum's Adventures In Ashcroft makes me wish he'd written more movie filming diaries. Because it's Callum sure, but also because it's a rare insight on a movie from an actor's point of view.

Your final thoughts are perfect. I mean, they match mine, most exactly!
May. 31st, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
More than one F & G fic? I'm blown away! I really didn't expect to find any.

You've done an amazing job of retrieving all those Callum's quotes about the movie.

Well, most of them were already on the_ckr_files so it wasn't hard.

And I'm so with you about the diary! It's great! He's funny, he's insightful, he's self-aware - he's a natural!

Your final thoughts are perfect. I mean, they match mine, most exactly!

I'm glad to hear it. It reminds me of a lot of indie films I used to watch when I worked for a community radio station and I got freebies to the preview films. They were always quirky and always shown on Saturday mornings and they always left me feeling kind of spaced out for the rest of the day. This could easily have been one of those films had it made it over here.

Jul. 3rd, 2009 04:26 am (UTC)
I love this because I love CKR, but also because I know Colin Roberts, who played Garnet. I've been friends with his family my entire life, I grew up spending summers with his dad.

A few years back, at a family wedding, I saw Colin's older sister, and I mentioned that I was a huge fan of CKR. She was about 14 at the time, and hilarious. She started to tease me by acting all blase: "oh yeah, he comes over for dinner all the time." (I'm meeping and she's cracking up.) "Oh, and we have his dog." (They ended up keeping his dog Alberta, who passed away a few months ago.) She thought it was a riot that I had a fangirl crush.

One day when I get to Vancouver I'm going to make Colin introduce me to Callum... if I have the nerve. :)
Jul. 6th, 2009 03:42 am (UTC)
know Colin Roberts, who played Garnet. I've been friends with his family my entire life, I grew up spending summers with his dad

That's very cool. Was that Colin Roberts' first movie? It's an amazing effort from a young actor. If he's ever said anything about what he drew on to play that child and how he prepared for that role (in the four days he had before filming!) I'd be interested to know.

It's incredible that I got to see this film at all. A few Canadian films make it over here (Australia) for the film festivals but Flower and Garnet never did. You can tell Colin that CKR caused the movie to be seen around the world.

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