The subject of mental health is very close to my heart and this dark comedy, which focuses on mental illness left me feeling oddly comforted by the end of the series. It took the elements of mental illness and laid it out visually, from the compartmentalisation of the house and grounds, to the clutter inside the house and barn, everything feels cramped, which to me reflects the mind but it is also has a magical feel to it.
I really loved the children’s story of “The Grubbs” Maurice’s creation and how this story fed into the main narrative. I think of mental illness like a rollercoaster that, once you’re strapped in, you can’t get of, and Flowers is very much like that. The script is quite wordy, and feels theatrically similar to an Akybourn play, it moves at a fast pace and means you have to pay attention to what is being said, and although this is Will Sharpe’s effort of injecting Japanese humour, it does also feel very British in that awkward, dry way. That paired with the visual / animation /dreamscapes means there is no letting up. You are being fed constantly.
Taking on the theme of mental health, which can feel abstract, and placing it in a “conventional” family was really interesting. The show is perfectly cast in Julian Barratt who plays Maurice (father), this years Best Actress (in a musical or comedy) Golden Globe Winner Olivia Colman playing Deborah (mother), and their children Sophia Di Martino (Amy) and Daniel Rigby (Donald). Will Sharpe is fearless in taking on three roles, as Shun, the animator / friend to Maurice, who is an author, he also directs and is the writer of the show.
Each character feels completely rounded and fleshed out, as an audience you will be able to find a character that you can relate to. They are all flawed in their own way but that’s what I love about them. The character of Shun reminded me of the Inspector in An Inspector Calls. An outsider with intimate access to a family, who is able to place a mirror to their faces and show them who they really are, but unlike the Inspector, who uses the mirror to shame and break the Birlings, Shun uses it to build and rise the Flowers.