There is always a lesson we can learn in coming of age films, and some of them are a bitter pill to swallow. Night Blooms is one of the harder ones, due to its controversial subject matter that has no easy answers, and it may leave you with a stunned look on your face once the credits start to role.
Night Blooms is the story of Carly (Pure‘s Jessica Clement), a teenager growing up in a small rural Nova Scotia town in the 90s. She’s bored of her life and her lack of options for love. And she does things she knows she shouldn’t just for the sake of distracting herself. One day she meets Wayne (Fear the Walking Dead‘s Nick Stahl), her best friend’s father, and quickly decides she loves him. Unfortunately he doesn’t feel the same way. However, Carly seduces him anyway and in a moment of weakness he allows her to get what she wants. Carly hopes it is the start of a beautiful relationship. And when he rebuffs her and tells her it was a mistake, she decides to shatter his life, and the life of her best friend instead.
Night Blooms is a dark film, and the cinematography reflects that beautifully. Never once are things bright and shiny. It always feels like there is a cloud overhead blotting out the sun. It’s how a lot of teenagers feel on a daily basis as they search for their role in life. Playing a character who struggles to find herself isn’t easy for a young actress. But Jessica Clement stepped up to the challenge. She’s got a bright future ahead of her. A veteran actor was definitely needed for Wayne, and Nick Stahl suited it perfectly.
Stahl had the right balance of caring, love, confusion and fear, that makes you feel bad for him. It’s the story that is the strongest part of the film however, and yet it may not be for everyone. Other films have portrayed sex between a female teenager and an older man like they do in Lolita and American Beauty. And every time it’s been a controversial topic. That’s especially true when it’s the female teenager who is being the aggressive one. There is a story here, but really it’s up to you to decide if it’s one you want to hear.
Over all Night Blooms is rather dull, and the journey it takes you on is pretty dreary. Still, it’s an interesting topic. And the ending of the film is one of the most realistic, non-Hollywood ones you will see this year.