Lifetime has now turned two of V.C. Andrews’ first set of books, the Dollenganger series, into TV movies. While “Flowers in the Attic” was an enjoyable adaptation of the disturbing first novel in the series, “Petals on the Wind” failed to capture us the same way.
The biggest problem was the pacing and the amount of material that had to be contained in a two-hour movie. “Petals on the Wind” the book is crammed full of plot and it simply cannot be thoroughly explored in a movie that has only 90 minutes of actual running time.
The reason “Flowers in the Attic” didn’t suffer from the same issue is because the nature of the “Flowers” story is that much of the children being held in the upstairs bedroom/attic can be conveyed through montage — passing seasons, aging up the characters, etc.
“Petals,” on the other hand, has far too much plot that cannot be conveyed via montage, so what we were left with is a choppy movie that jumps from one tent-pole event from the book to another, sometimes with no transition whatsoever.
And even with the choppiness and hurried pacing, the movie still left out several notable plotlines, like the fact that Cathy becomes romantically involved with Paul Sheffield after he takes in the three Dollenganger children.
The other big drawback of “Petals” is that there is far too little screentime for the crazy-eyed Corrine (Heather Graham) and Olivia (Ellen Burstyn). No offense to Rose McIver, who does a wonderful job as the grown-up Cathy, but one of the best things about “Flowers” was the ridiculous craziness of Olivia and Corrine, so we missed that in the sequel, though that’s a product of the source material. Cathy is much the focus of the second book, so Corrine and Olivia aren’t as heavily featured.
There certainly are things to like about “Petals,” but it seems Lifetime could have really done the book justice if it had made the movie two 90-minute offerings instead of one.
What did you think of “Petals on the Wind”?