Eve Hewson (left) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt star in “Flora and Son,” premiering Sept. 29 on Apple TV+.
(“Flora and Son” trailer courtesy of Apple TV)
“Sanford and Son.”
Rufus and Carla Thomas.
“Flora and Son?”
The new Apple TV+ movie, which focuses on a parent/child relationship, cannot match the greatness of those other familial institutions.
However, that does not stop “Flora and Son” from having some enjoyable moments, catchy music and a possible budding relationship that viewers will root for.
In “Flora and Son,” the dysfunctional mother and son duo prove that apples do not fall far from the tree.
Or as Max (Oren Kinlan) says, he and his mother Flora (Eve Hewson, “Bridge of Spies”) are cut from the same cloth.
Max cannot stay out of trouble with the law.
Unfortunately, his mother does not provide him with a good example.
Max is only 14-years-old.
And his young mother had him at only 17 years of age.
Instead of raising her son to become a positive young man, she spends most of her time drinking wine, partying and having one-night stands with random dudes she meets at clubs in Dublin.
Despite being a screw up in life, Flora still has a charm, charisma and likability about her.
She loves badgering her baby daddy Ian (Jack Reynor, “Transformers: Age of Extinction”) about his new girl not being as liberal in the bedroom as she was while they were together.
Although Flora has talent when it comes to dating, she is not a talented mother.
And Max’s delinquency and criminality shows that.
In “Flora and Son,” Max gets into so much trouble with the law in Dublin that he is given one more chance to get right or go behind those fences.
Max is advised to find some hobbies like cycling.
However, Flora tells the officer that Max sold his bicycle to buy a used laptop so he can play video games all day.
However, Max adds that he watches pornography on that laptop too.
Regardless of if pornography is taking up too much time, it is certain that Max needs to find some other extracurricular activity to keep him busy.
When Flora finds a discarded guitar in a dumpster, she imagines it might be the perfect hobby for her wayward son to pick up.
After all, Max’s father is a musician.
In fact, that is the only reason Flora slept with him in the first place.
Flora gets the used guitar cleaned and fixed up and gives it to Max as a birthday gift.
Unfortunately for Flora, she gives Max the birthday gift a day after his actual birthday.
And although Max is interested in music and the attention that musicians get from girls, he could not care less about an acoustic guitar.
Therefore, Flora decides to give the guitar a go for herself.
She begins trying to teach herself the guitar from watching YouTube videos.
However, that is not an effective way for her to pick up the skill.
Nevertheless, Flora does run across an ad online for an online guitar tutor.
Although she is initially put off by the $20 per hour price tag, she eventually hires Jeff (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “Snowden”) to teach her the instrument even though Jeff is a world away from her in California.
In “Flora and Son,” Jeff is a true lover of music that has soured against pursuing a professional career in the music business.
Trying to get rich off music would turn Jeff off, even though music is the love of his life.
As a result, teaching online tutorials will have to suffice for the talented guitarist and songwriter.
Despite Jeff taking music seriously, that does not stop Flora from being Flora.
She asks Jeff to play the guitar for her without his shirt on.
Therefore, Jeff immediately ends their first session early because of Flora objectifying him.
However, Jeff and Flora eventually develop a chemistry via the computer screen that will soon make the most important relationship in “Flora and Son” not the parental relationship but the relationship between teacher and student, which Jeff thinks will be inappropriate.
As a result, “Flora and Son” might unintentionally be a movie about the perils of modern-day dating, which is often done via the Internet.
Despite the Internet bringing the world closer together, it is still a tough struggle to make something happen with someone so far away.
It is also a movie about opposites becoming attracted to each other.
Flora is crude and crass.
Jeff is thoughtful and introspective.
In fact, Jeff affectionately refers to Flora as a crazy Irish B-word.
But somehow there is a connection between the two, which sometimes makes it seem like they are in the same place.
The most interesting shots in “Flora and Son” are the scenes in which Jeff seems to appear in Flora’s kitchen, on the rooftop of Flora’s apartment building and at a Dublin area park.
Unfortunately, “Flora and Son” does contain some unmemorable and lackluster moments.
If viewers step away from their television, cell phone or laptops for a few minutes they will not necessarily miss anything.
However, “Flora and Son” does contain great character arcs.
And despite Max’s disrespectful behavior towards his elders, it is clear that he is not a bad kid.
Max is just victimized by being born to parents too young to properly raise him.
But if his parentals can get it together and provide a good example, maybe being cut from the same cloth will not be such a bad thing after all.