Review By Bradley Smith
Flutter follows a young mother, living in poverty, as she desperately tries to raise her son on her own while her husband is on the road trying to make a go at a music career. Struggling against nearly impossible odds, including her son suffering with glaucoma, his pet pig, and in-laws that object to how she is raising her son, JoLynn (Lindsay Pulsipher) proves that the strongest love is the love of a mother for her child: to quote JoLynn when she is trying to reassure her son, Johnathan, “I will love you more than God does.”
To treat her son’s glaucoma, JoLynn ignores the doctor’s orders and instead secretly gives him hydroponic marijuana that she has grown and baked into brownies; which she calls medicine. She tries to explain to the doctor that the medicine he put Johnathan on does not work, but, given that they live in Texas where the hydroponic alternative remains illegal, the doctor really has no choice but to keep prescribing the ineffective medicine that is approved by the government.
Speaking for my own opinions, I have no interest in using, or being around, marijuana and really couldn’t have cared less whether or not it was legalized prior to seeing this movie. However, seeing in this movie someone being responsible with the marijuana (JoLynn locks the brownies in a safe and only gives Johnathan one at a time) and the medical usefulness of marijuana (the movie claims that it is preventing blindness in Johnathan by relieving pain in his eyes), I would welcome the legalization of marijuana. It doesn’t seem any worse than tobacco, alcohol, and firearms.
On the topic of JoLynn’s responsibility, she is human and far from perfect. They are living in poverty, but she has carved out a somewhat delicate balance that is thrown off when she makes a mistake one night; leaving her son alone at home while she goes out with her sister-in-law to gamble away the last of her money on a bingo game that her sister-in-law assures her is rigged in their favor. Not only does JoLynn lose all their money, but Johnathan and his pet pig, Wee Wee (also the name of the production company behind the film), run amok back home, destroying the last of the ingredients for his “medicine” and trampling their neighbors garden which triggers law enforcement intervention that sends them further in debt.
As things spiral out of control, JoLynn takes more desperate actions, some of which may seem unthinkable, but are all for the sake of the health of her son. It often seems like nothing will work out for JoLynn and her son, but they always have each other, unless her husband’s mother or the law gets their way.
The movie makes a couple interesting detours throughout the 90+ minute runtime. First, there are the musical pieces sung by JoLynn’s singer/songwriter husband, David (Jesse Plemons). They are very beautiful songs and fit well with the story. Second, there are short animated segments that showcase the imagination of Johnathan. I kind of thought of these as a side effect of Johnathan’s “medicine”; not sure if that was the filmmakers’ intent, but these scenes were fascinating and/or humorous and the narrative voice-overs by Johnathan add another layer to this dramatic saga.
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