If There Be Thorns movie review

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” This family is …….complicated”

Far more sinister in tone than its predecessors, but still keeping with some slightly warped humour…… If There Be Thorns premiered in the UK Thursday night  to some great fan reaction.

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Our Swifty Doll was raving about ‘Mini Malcolm’ aka Bart jnr played by Mason Cook on Twitter.

That kid truly was amazing, he bought such a sympathetic, conflicted side to Bart Jnr we somehow miss in the books….. and Lifetime were so right to pay more attention to the fact the boy was suffering from mental illness than just his actions which were pretty hard to read. His attempt at drowning Cindy was fantasticly done.
One thing I missed though was his ramblings …. Bart throughout the book was always muttering to himself either as himself or more scarily Malcolm .

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Heather Graham rocked her role as the hilariously delusional Corrine Foxworth
prompting this reaction from Ted:

Can someone please slap Corrine?
even confessing her failings she plays the victim lol

She portrays Corrine in the way a lot of fans have fun mocking her.

The denial …”It wasnt an asylum , it was an outpatient clinic ”

The Vanity … the woman has her own scrapbook of press cuttings for goodness sake !!!

Her absolute disregard for servants
” You cant actually like him – He’s just a servant !”

Theres something about this Corrine you just cant hate ……………. of course, Heather plays ditzy blonde Corrine to the hilt but we fans know Corrine was a lot more than that ….. manipulative, sexually and emotionally which would have been nice to see . She touched on it in Petals on the Wind and IMO stole the show !

The cinematography of Corrines mansion was beautifully gothic in tone …. with stone angels shushing the viewer as it drew us in to the secrets

The black roses in the greenhouse provided a lovely morbid touch and I was half expecting her to dead head them at any moment a la Morticia Adams (she sooo should have)

In fact , I have to say Heather and Mason carried this movie , I lived for their scenes either individually or as a pair. The dancing in her front parlour was particularly sweet and touching and Barts vulnerability when pleading with her to tell him the truth was so well done .

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I could wax lyrical about Heather Graham and Corrine all day ! And little Mason as Bart jnr but onto the other characters.

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Jedidah Goodacre was fantastic as Jory , but his script let him down, relegated to a background character with a penchant for having sex with his girlfriend in the attic 😦
I wanted to see his and Bart’s fragile bond as brothers , I wanted to see his slow discovery of the truth and his struggle…….. though it was pretty intense seeing him finally visit Corrine for confirmation and his subsequent reaction. That and the scene in which he gave Madame M what for were particularly well done.

Which brings me to Madame M 😦 What a dissapointment – where was my haggard Russian old crone that Bart refers to as a witch ? Who’s tough love approach has her crooning and rocking Cathy in a hug whilst simultaneously giving her what for ? Where were her pearls of wisdom ? Why give her some crappy B story of blackmail ? That’s not the fiesty old bird we know and love even if she manages to make us uncomfortable at the same time ……

As for uncomfortable characters … John Amos. What is it with Lifetime making horrible characters likeable ?
Ok , I get how they wanted to show why Bart would trust him and see him as the father figure he wouldn’t let Chris be but seriously where was the sinister dark avenger of the lord ? Where was the clicking, rattling false teeth ? Why didnt he make my skin crawl ? Mackenzie Gray was fantastic , but again the script let him down. He wasn’t obsessed with his dimissive wife Corrine , whom he’d lusted over for all those years. He was just a servant …. with no job satisfaction…. seriously not a good enough reason john .

The changes made seemed to focus on the characters rather than the plotline which though pleasing enough story wise completely messed up the characters we know and love…

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Namely Cathy and Chris …. if you thought the changes to secondary characters was bad enough then hold onto your hats because seriously ….

I’ll start with Chris … Jason Lewis looked the part but this Chris had a hardened, world weary edge to him which was NOT our Christopher Doll. Chris really was not given much of a role in the film , there was no showing of his closeness to Jory , nor actually how he was the glue holding this family together instead he was saddled with money problems, blackmail and a penchant for drink.

However the one scene he was given was so changed that the fans worldwide didnt like it :

Kelly: I hated it when Chris locked Bart in the attic. It was totally out of character. I honestly believed while reading ITBT, that Chris had more love for Cathy’s children that she did. And he seemed to have a soft spot for Bart.  He never wanted Bart to feel like he was less for not being a “dancing doll” like Jory and Cathy.

Kelly is right. Chris would never have done that to Bart…..its an integral part of the story which the scriptwriter Andy Cochran totally missed and managed to mess up .

Which leads me to Cathy ,oh Cathy what have they done to you ?
Racheal Carpani is beautiful, she manages to embody the lost girl innocence that Cathy held. Her confrontational scenes with Corrine were heartbreakingly emotive and showcased her skills as a brilliant actress.

But this was the only time , for most part of the movie , Cathy was happily popping the pills and floating through the scenes in a valium induced haze.

Ok, Lifetime we get it , Cathy is still traumatised but seriously this was more hilarious than tragic and seriously not our Cathy.

So drugged that her entire personality was gone …. no feisty, arse kicking Cathy here who kicked John Amos in the balls , who was the one who would cat fight with Corrine and still be screaming at her its her fault as the barn was burning around them .

Which leads me to the rather anti climatic ending …..now there were parts of this movie that built you up into the frenzy where you d state ” shit just got real” then leave you with … nothing.

The changes at the end, with John Amos and Bart locking Cathy and Corrine in the barn (sans their last meal of spat on sandwiches) ….. Bart somehow does a complete 180 and decides he doesn’t like John Amos much and tries to shoot him with a bow and arrow :/ This seemingly comes from nowhere … and Corrine, whilst I love how you saved your grandson … you were supposed to save your daughter. That was your final act of redemption…..Get with the programme dammit !

Don’t get me wrong this was actually a good movie , but it could have been Great …. instead of the silly little b plot fillers the original books had enough cannon in them to make it so much more.

Memorable scenes were cut from the books and movie which left the characters as almost caricatures (yes cathy im looking at you) and would have made so much more sense if they had been included …..

Again I could go on but I think that should be an entirely new blog for another day ………..

I’ll leave it here now with a Bart type grading : C – Lifetime you did good but could have done so much better…….

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