We mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Irish writer/director John Carney’s new film "Flora and Son" would premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this month, and that’s what happened on Sunday afternoon. By evening the reviews were in, and they were superb.
Singled out for particular praise was star Eve Hewson, who perhaps is still best known as being Bono’s daughter but soon it’ll be the other way around given how hot her career is at the moment.
Hewson plays Flora, an exasperated young single mom living in Dublin with her wayward teen son Max (Orén Kinlan.) Hoping to pique his interest in music, she gives him an old guitar she found but he’s got zero interest, so Flora decides to take music lessons herself, via Zoom, with an instructor based in Los Angeles for $20 a go.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the one giving lessons, and given that it’s a Carney film (he’s famous for "Once," "Sing Street," and "Begin Again"), the main characters slowly fall for each other, and Flora’s son Max eventually has redemption too.
Sundance critics ate it up.
“'Flora and Son' has the great advantage of Eve Hewson…(she) takes a flawed but good-hearted mess of a character and makes her sympathetic, likable and fully human,” Hollywood Reporter noted.
Hewson, says Deadline, delivers “a tour-de-force breakout performance,” and “dominates the screen with a bolshie and highly physical performance that tears through the story like a whirlwind.”
Indiewire calls "Flora and Son" “a cozy Irish musical about the ways in which music can bond people together, the joy of creation, and the pleasure of someone unpacking their soul, all with that lovely Irish lilt,” and Hewson's star turn as “wonderful.”
My love for the Kinlan’s is forever more.. 💚 https://t.co/yAv1JM7rqI— Eve Hewson (@EveHewson) January 23, 2023
Hewson, 31, sings in the film but didn’t ask her pops for any guidance. She told The Hollywood Reporter that singing isn’t her thing despite her pedigree.
“It was really one of the best moviemaking moments I’ve had in my life because I’ve never sung before. I never cared to sing before. I’m not particularly good at it,” she said.
She unveiled the film’s songs, which she co-wrote, to Bono once they were complete.
“Because I knew that he would start to come in with lots of ideas to help me with my singing. And I have to say, I would rather sing in front of the entire world than for my dad. It would be terrifying. I mean, he’s a really, really good singer. So he was very sweet and wanted to help and I was just like, no. But he got to hear the finished product and loved it,” she said.
Bono wasn’t in Sundance on Sunday, but Mom Ali Hewson was on hand for her daughter’s big splash.
What a moment ❤️ https://t.co/Stxeth7G6e— Eve Hewson (@EveHewson) January 23, 2023
Check out this interview with the "Flora and Son" cast at Sundance:
*This column first appeared in the January 25 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.