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on January 3, 2002
First off, I have to say that the movie barely even follows the same plot as the brilliant book. The were so many problems! In the book the oldest girl was supposed to be 12 when they came to the attic, in the movie she looks 15 or 16. In the book the grandmother didn't cut the oldest girls hair, she tried but Chris stopped her. And what happened to the incest? It carried such huge messages and themes in the book and in the movie there is none of it. I could go on for pages about the inconsistensies, even the ending is hugely different. I swear sometimes when they actually said something from the book I would think "Hey! That's kinda like Flowers In The-...oh yeah...". But to defend the makers of this movie a bit, this was before the entertainment industry relized how much it annoys people when they don't follow much loved books. I mean look at the 2 latest movies based on books, Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter. They are two great books with movies that are good as well and stay true to them. I really wish they would remake the movie and have a movie for each book in the series. I think Flowers In The Attic was around 400 pages. When a 400 page book is squashed into an 85 minute movie it isn't pretty...But for a moment here lets forget about the book, now lets look at the problems with the stand alone movie. The acting was quite weak at times. Cory's voice was annoying but I actually respected that because it seemed more realistic. Another thing I like about the movie was how it showed that man digging the four graves, that was a very eerie well done scene. A shame it was only 4 seconds and the rest of the movie never had that eerie mood. A movie like this really should have that eerie mood. It all happened too fast. And you never got to know the characters well enough to feel bad for them. You never got to know the mother well enough to be shocked when the truth came out. Nothing was understood, there seemed to be a shortage of lines. And half the lines were chocked full of emotion that came to soon and too rushed. Instead of getting the feeling they were in the attic for years, you feel they were in the attic for 85 minutes, the time of the movie. It doesn't glide you from scene to scene, it puts more circles under the childrens eyes and tell you it's been a few months. And by skipping those few months we lose a lot of important dialoge and emotions that must have passed between the children. All in all you should really only watch this out of curiosity, not for entertainment, and not for a substitute of the book.
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on February 16, 2003
In my point of view, if you want to know the real story, read the book! I read the book before I saw the movie and I was VERY disappointed. The movie leaves out all of the feelings and losses of the characters, which is what makes the book amazing.
The story is about four beautiful children (Chris, Cathy, Carrie, and Cory), who are locked away in a room by thier selfish mother, with a filthy attic as their playground. Their cruel heartless Grandmother brainwashes the small children, Cory and Carrie, into thinking that they are "devil's spawn", and they are painfully malnourished. They live each day as if it were a year, sadly awaiting the truths that are to come from their greedy mother.
This book will capture the tears from your eyes, as you feel the trials and triumphs of four helpless children, locked away without care.
I recommend the rest of the dollanganger series from V.C. Andrews, from the escape from the attic; to the return; and thier lives still haunted by the house; and a Pre-quel.
-Petals on the Wind,
-If there be Thorns,
-Seeds of Yesterday,
-and finally, Garden of Shadows.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 17, 2016
I love Louise Fletcher, and this is one of the worst movies I have ever seen.

The acting was young Anakin Skywalker-level stiff - from the adults. The script was inscrutable and not a good adaptation of the book. Even the narration was awful - like one of those Southern-fried Investigation Discovery Murder dramatization series.

Almost hokey enough for the MST3K treatment, but not quite bad enough to be that good.
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on September 28, 2010
Adapting a book to film isn't as simple as using the book as the movie script. Some ideas simply don't translate well to the big screen, especially if you have less than 2 hours to develop all of your characters, tell the story, and reach a resolution. So film makers inevitably have to cut corners and modify the story to make a movie that can be understood and enjoyed by people who haven't even read the book. That's what they did here. And as a movie in and of itself, I thought they did a good job.

The book "Flowers in the Attic" isn't just a horror story of 4 kids locked away in an attic by their zealot grandmother. It weaves a complex tale about mixed relationship roles in a family, as the lines blur between father/brother, mother/sister, spouse/sibling, and parent/grandparent. It's also the first book in a series, and the ending doesn't offer much of a resolution. The bottom line is that there is simply no way you can cram that whole book into a 90 minute movie. The character development would have been extremely rushed and confusing, and the film might have even gotten an NC-17 rating at the time with the incest. The writers obviously knew this, though I guess the 1-star reviewers here don't. I suppose they could have alternatively tried adopting it into a mini-series, but I don't know if they would have been able to keep new viewers tuning in week after week.

So the writers instead cut out the incestuous complexities of the brother/sister relationship, and added a resolution which the book doesn't have. Does this sacrifice a lot of the parallel stories in the book? Sure. But again, I don't know how else you could have turned this into a 90 minute movie. All things considered, they did a decent job. I have no shame in saying I even liked the movie's ending more than the book's passive ending.
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on December 5, 2000
The casting and acting is superb. So there's credit given where it is due.
However, the plot of this movie, when compared to the actual novel of the same name written by V. C. Amdrews, is just pathetic. The movie's ending stinks, the characters weren't developed hardly at all, and more than half of the things that happened in the attic were left out of the movie.
If I rated the movie based on the novel, it wouldn't even get one star. If you loved the movie, you would absolutely LOVE the book.
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on January 22, 2014
The Lifetime remake only made me appreciate the original movie version more. Compared to the Lifetime version, this one is a masterpiece! The look and feel of the movie is exactly as it should be. Also, Louise Fletcher and Victoria Tennant played their parts to perfection. The only real complaint I have nowadays is the ending. Killing off the mother, made it impossible to continue the franchise. Since she wasn't dead at that point of the V.C. Andrews saga, it made it impossible to ever do a sequel. Lets hope they try to remake it again, but until then this is the version to see/own.
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on December 9, 2013
Well, I didn't read the book as many of those leaving reviews have stated, nor did I read all 200+ reviews. My review will be based solely on the movie.

This movie aired on a local channel but I only caught the middle of the movie. Intrigued by the plot and ending, I bought it so I could see the beginning and the end. Wow! Had I seen the beginning OR the end before hand, I would never have wasted my money on this one!

What I didn't like:
1. The relationship between the oldest daughter and father, even though briefly addressed in the movie before he was killed, felt very incestuous. That was creepy!
2. The relationship between the oldest daughter and son--both appeared to be mid to upper teens and attractive---also felt incestuous! Also creepy!! It seemed inappropriate for the brother to be in the room where his teenage sister is bathing, to sit and watch her bathe and to wash her back for her. Uggh! Perhaps even a little weird for them to be sleeping in the same bed, but at least that appeared to be innocent.
3. Once again it felt incestuous for the mother of these children to be slowly undressing in front of HER bed-ridden father, with her mother standing by watching. The viewer didn't know a lashing was about to take place by the mother, in front of the father, while the adult daughter was in her underwear or less.
4. As if to confirm the incestuous nature of this film, it comes out that the mother had run off and married her uncle??
These observations beg the question: Did Woody Allen direct this movie??

A mother poisoning her children...a mother abandoning her children who were locked away in the attic...a mother who was pursuing a future for herself knowing she would have to kill her 4 children in order to have her new life...a grandmother who was abusive and cruel to her grandchildren. Perhaps it was bad acting on the part of the mother of the children because she appeared in the beginning to be a very loving and attentive mother who truly loved her children, who turned her back on her parents and their fortune at her first opportunity because she recognized they were evil people--or so it seemed--until the end of the movie when you realize she is no different than her bazaar parents. It also left me wondering: did she actually have her husband killed way back at the beginning of the movie? I like movies with suspense but not movies where mothers will kill their own children or movies that are filled with innuendos of incest so frequently.
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on June 13, 2014
The movie is a classic 80s fairy-tale. It has hauntingly pretty music throughout the film, clunky music to show danger, and Gothic-esq filming. Despite it's fairy-tale nature I felt it was grounded in the fear of the children about their future. It could sound easy just to leave, but their mother has never seemed to work before and apparently they didn't have any savings. Where could they go? A homeless shelter? Maybe the fact that the world is not kind to the poor made them stay, despite the abuse.

This family grows on you. You learn to love them, to miss their happy memories for them. Some of the financial woes that kept them with a grandmother who had a twisted view of scripture was something I related too, so maybe it's not only other aesthetics but just me being able to relate to the mistreated hostages/children that made this movie unforgettable.
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on January 17, 2014
On the eve of the remake, I decided to give the original adaption another look. When I saw it the first time back in 1987, I was annoyed and disappointed that it strayed from the novel. Upon viewing it 20+ years later, I am not as harsh a critic. True, some of the acting is a little melodramatic, but I enjoyed the story. Some of the performances, (especially little Cory, played by Ben Ryan Ganger), will haunt you. I would recommend putting aside comparisons to the novel, and watching the movie as a stand alone tale.
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on October 21, 2014
God designed Kristy Swanson's face to express spite, and when she does so at the end of the movie to her evil evil mom, it is so satisfying. This is a great example of a gore-free horror movie that is genuinely scary. Check it out for sure!
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