As the incipit of a famous poem by Emily Dickinson says: “Spring comes on the World,” and it brings with itself all the splendor of nature, which fills both the landscapes and the hearts of colors, life, and beauty. Let’s take, literally speaking, this moment to artistically appreciate flowers, which are the emblems of this season, by analyzing all those varieties that have contributed to the charm of a movie’s story or setting.
CITY LIGHTS (1931)
With this movie, Charlie Chaplin gave us a poetic and silent masterpiece, where only images are “speaking:” the protagonists are the sensitive tramp Charlot and a blind florist; Charlot, who’s in love with her, tries even the impossible, and in a tragicomic way, to help the poor woman to pay her debts and keep on working.
THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939)
This movie represented a unique innovation considering the era in which it was filmed thanks to the pioneering use of Technicolor and visual effects: every scene is a vibrant mix of colors and fantastic elements that are now a part of the collective imagination. Dorothy sleeping in a field of red poppies is one of the most unforgettable moments.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND (1951)
“You can learn a lot of things from the flowers,” who doesn’t remember the “All in the Golden Afternoon” song from “Alice in Wonderland”? During her imaginary trip, Alice meets a group of singing roses, chrysanthemums, tulips, daisies, daffodils, lilies, and snapdragons, that dedicates to the young girl a real concert! An unforgettable moment as much as the obsession of the Queen of Hearts for red roses, a mania that makes you lose your head!
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991 – 2017)
A young, beautiful but cruel prince refuses to help a poor old woman in exchange for a rose; the woman turns out to be a fairy, who turns the prince in a Beast and all the inhabitants of the castle in animated objects. The fairy gives him a chance of redemption: if he would have been able to learn how to love before the rose dried, he would turn back into a human again together with his servants. That’s the beginning of one of the most beautiful Disney love stories, which was first an animated movie and then a live-action!
STEALING BEAUTY (1996)
Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, the movie follows Lucy (Liv Tyler), the young protagonist, during a summer in the Tuscan countryside where, surrounded by artists and intellectuals, she becomes a woman. Her radiant, simple and spontaneous beauty is emphasized by the nature that is all around the house where she lives and by flowers, both those collected by the girl and those that decorate many of her dresses.
AMERICAN BEAUTY (1999)
An incredible cult directed by Sam Mendes: how to forget the scene where the cheerleader Angela (Mena Suvari) is covered in a sensual way with a rain of red rose petals in the fantasy of the depressed Lester (Kevin Spacey)? The roses, similar to those that Carolyn (Annette Bening), the wife of Lester, takes care of at the beginning of the movie, represent the vital force of the protagonist who tries to rebel against the sad monotony of his life.
WHITE OLEANDER (2002)
In this drama, we find the flower of the title from the very beginning: Ingrid Magnussen (Michelle Pfeiffer), the protagonist, extracts from the white oleander the poison to kill her lover. From that moment on, we follow the story of Astrid (Alison Lohman), the teen daughter of Ingrid who, having been left alone after the arrest of her mother, begins a difficult path made of many social workers, institutes and foster families.
BIG FISH (2004)
Raise your hand if you would love to be in a yellow daffodils field together with Ewan McGregor, the protagonist of this movie directed by Tim Burton: this is one of the most famous and romantic moments of the movie, where flowers work as a background for one of the “imaginary” stories lived and told by Edward Bloom.
MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA (2005)
The cherry blossom is a symbol of the Japanese culture, and we can catch a romantic glimpse of it in the movie adaptation of Rob Marshall from the novel of the same name. In this scene, we see Sayri, the protagonist, walking alongside the Chairman, the only man she truly loves but that she cannot be together with, surrounded by a delicate rain of cherry blossoms, which makes the moment even more romantic.
THE HUNGER GAMES (2012)
Flowers are silent protagonists of the entire saga, starting from some of the characters’ names: Primrose, Katniss’ sister, is named after the primula (the same flower that Peeta will plant in his garden after the girl’s death), while Rue is named after a particular yellow flower that we find in the District 12. Last, the symbol of President Snow is a white rose, which recalls the extremely scented roses with which he surrounded himself to avoid that the blood’s smell coming from his mouth wounds, made by poison, spreads around. Poison is Snow’s favorite weapon to kill enemies.
One of the most acclaimed horrors of the last years, where the Swedish tradition of the midsummer festivities turns into a pagan and bloody ritual. In this movie, flowers have been used to emphasize the visual power of the scenes and as a tangible representation of that binomial between life and death, control and chaos, which is at the center of the story. The elaborated and iconic floral dress and headgear worn by Dani (Florence Pugh) represent the cathartic moment where the girl “blossoms” as a new member of the rural community.