After I finished watching The Bridge on The River Kwai, I decided to watch a more recent film that was on my DVR. I selected My Sweet Audrina, a film that made its debut, this January, on Lifetime. Would My Sweet Audrina prove to be as good a film as The Bridge on the River Kwai? Read on to find out…
I have to admit that, despite my well-known love for over-the-top Lifetime melodrama, I was not particularly enthusiastic about watching My Sweet Audrina. Though I missed the film when it was originally broadcast, I did see the commercials leading up to it. “From the author of Flowers In The Attic,” the commercials announced, which led me to believe that My Sweet Audrina would be yet another installment in the Flowers saga. And don’t get me wrong — I enjoyed Flowers In The Attic and I thought If There Be Thorns had some good moments but, after four movies about that messed up, incestuous family, I was ready to move on.
However, once I started watching the film, I quickly discovered that — despite some definite similarities — My Sweet Audrina has nothing to do with Flowers in the Attic. True, it does deal with family secrets and sexual repression and a young woman who is never allowed to leave her family’s Victorian mansion but other than that, it has absolutely nothing to do with Flowers In the Attic.
Audrina (India Eisley) believes that she is nine years old but she is actually a teenager. She spends almost all of her time isolated from the rest of the world. Her father (James Tupper) refuses to let Audrina interact with the outside world, convinced that she will suffer the same fate that happened to a mysterious figure known as “the first Audrina.” Audrina’s older sister, Vera (Toni Atkins), is jealous of the attention that their father devotes to Audrina. She deals with her anger by intentionally injuring herself and having sex with everyone she meets and then taunting the repressed Audrina with the details. When a handsome piano teacher shows up to give her lessons, Audrina is ashamed when she feels attracted to him and then is angered when Vera steals him away.
Fortunately for Audrina, a very understanding neighbor named Arden Lowe (William Moseley) has fallen for in love with her. (In what world does a handsome young man fall in love with a strange girl who has no friends, no understanding of the world, and is totally terrified of sex? The world of Lifetime, of course!) However, even after marrying Arden, Audrina is still haunted by disturbing nightmares and is incapable of enjoying sex.
Of course, it all comes down to the mystery of what happened to the first Audrina. And fear not! All questions are eventually answered. Of course, the answers don’t really make any sense but I guess that’s kind of the point. The melodrama of My Sweet Audrina is so pure and unapologetically over the top that it doesn’t have to follow any logic other than its own.
Visually, My Sweet Audrina follows the lushly gothic pattern previously established by Flowers In The Attic. The sets are elaborate, the clothes are to die for (even Audrina’s supposedly drab outfits have a definite flair to the,), and all of the performers are nice to look at. India Eisley does a good job as Audrina but, for me, Toni Atkins stole the entire film as the obsessively self-destructive Vera.
For lovers of over-the-top melodrama, My Sweet Audrina is a lot of fun.
And if you’re not a lover of over-the-top melodrama … well, then you probably wouldn’t be watching Lifetime in the first place!
(But, to answer the question I asked at the start of this review, My Sweet Audrina is not as good as The Bridge on The River Kwai. But it’s still pretty entertaining!)
Did you know that Kacy Rohl, who portrays Vera in the film, is the daughter of director Mike Rohl? I loved her in the TV series Hannibal.
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