Man of Flowers (1983)

Man of Flowers





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

The Australian Man of Flowers stars Norman Kaye in the title role. A painter, Kaye has earned his nickname from his beautifully rendered flower portraits. He uses his artistic skills as a means of channelling his repressed sexual yearnings, especially his feelings towards nude model Alyson Best. When flowers no longer quench his carnal thirsts, Kaye expresses himself on his pipe organ, hammering out impassioned songs as a sort of musical cold shower. A flashback, which is meant to explain Kaye's … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Bob Ellis
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 12, 2005

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as Charles Bremer

as Art teacher

as Psychiatrist

as Coppershop Man

as Father

as florist

as Cleaning Lady
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Critic Reviews for Man of Flowers

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | April 14, 2008
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

An extraordinary psychodrama of a lonely man and his yearnings.

Full Review… | August 19, 2004
Spirituality and Practice

Strikes a fine balance between quirky humor and poignancy.

Full Review… | April 2, 2004
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

June 30, 2005

Audience Reviews for Man of Flowers


Man of Flowers is a strange little film, a product of the eighties, that shows a little skin and hands out a great deal of woo-woo mysticism in the process. The characters are drawn pretty thinly, the problems that each character faces are somewhat formulaic, and the print is dated. But there are a few bright spots. Norman Kaye, plays the eccentric, shy, Charles Bremer with an aristocratic reserve that is almost (almost) believable. Lisa (Alyson Best) is a beautiful young woman torn between this gentle soul and an abusive boyfriend, David (Chris Haywood), who is a tortured, has-been artist with several problems of his own. And Jane (Sarah Walker) is a girlfriend who offers Lisa relationship advice, but has designs on Lisa for herself. What little we know of what led Charles to this is told through flash-backs that appear as dreams, a device that is not entirely effective. It was entertaining, just not very.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

This virtually unnoticed drama holds what is certainly among the most captivating opening scenes ever committed to film.

A perfectly suited, middle-aged man (Kaye) sits formally in his black leather chair, stoically absorbing the room of sensual pleasure he has crafted: gorgeous floral arrangements, sculptures and paintings, while a lush aria plays and an ingenue (Best) slowly disrobes down to her pearl necklace. Then, with the slightest of glance and touch to his temple, the viewer realizes that, for Kaye, there is a cruel ennui, a certain impotence, in all that he has assembled.

The scene is the opening gambit in a character study that slowly slips ever deeper down into the Freudian rabbit hole that is Kaye's asocial psyche, toward the childhood that has brought him to this, his artistic but cloistered, lonely and unsatisfying existence.

Soon enough, the relationship deepens and Kaye is confronted with the decision as to whether it will be his own compulsively perfect world - or Best's, saddled with sexual ambiguity and her cokehead wannabe-painter live-in (Haywood) - that he will choose to live.

There's a lot of topic on deck here - how adulthood is forged from childhood, what is life's greatest beauty, what May gains from May-December, the torture that middle-aged loneliness can be.

Unique, unusual, intellectual, visual, poignant are all more-than-fair adjectives for this film. The film does plod along at points, especially when wading through far too many enigmatic, heavy-handed and redundant childhood flashbacks, and so some patience is required of the viewer.

RECOMMENDATION: "Man of Flowers" looks like a Criterion resto job just waiting to happen. True film buffs shouldn't wait.

TonyPolito Polito

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