Another day, another movie with an angsty teenage girl getting together with a much older man. Night Blooms, from writer/director Stephanie Joline, actually provides a fresh perspective. The man (played by Disturbing Behavior alum Nick Stahl) is actually disapproving of the relationship even as it begins to unfold. Being set in the 90s adds a minimal amount of charm, as contrasting tones of grit and sexually explicit dialogue threaten to stifle it completely.
Carly (Jessica Clement) and Laura (Alexandra McDonald) are best friends with two very different lives at home. However, their love of music brings the dynamic duo together. Carly excels in writing lyrics, and Laura proposes that they start a band together. They are constantly toying with the name. Laura’s father, Wayne (Stahl) offers Carly an escape from her tumultuous life at home by letting her stay there. He offers up a large basement (and freshly-made BLT’s), where Carly and Laura can freely practice for their budding band.
A dash of magical realism is what appears to throw the first stone. While huffing a spray can with her semi-boyfriend, Jason (Calem MacDonald), Carly imagines a woman who appears. This stranger acts as an ominous voice urging her to act on wild impulses. This includes seducing Wayne, which happens as simply as watching an episode of Bewitched together. Trailer-trash friends who throw colorful insults around (like “your sister let me cum in her ass last night”) add next to nothing, beyond painting Carly in even more colorful strokes.
What was the significance of the title? This is something I am always curious to unearth, and the relevance is introduced in a simple throwaway line. Wayne is trying his hand at night gardening, including sprucing up the place with some “moon flowers.” His peaceful project never receives attention after this introductory scene, leaving me curious at to why Night Blooms was selected.
Night Blooms has a complete non-ending—acceptable only if what came before was potent perfection. There are merits to seeing this kind of material from strictly a female perspective. Nick Stahl and Jessica Clement both deliver strong performances, yet something is missing. The film fails to come together in a meaningful and cohesive way.
Night Blooms plants a toxic relationship when it head to theaters on Friday, January 21st.