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Harrison's Flowers

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Jan
Harrison's Flowers
from Film Forum, 03/21/02

Harrison's Flowers is the new film from writer/director/producer Elie Chouraqui. The story is about the disappearance of Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Harrison Lloyd (David Strathairn), and how his determined wife Sarah (Andie MacDowell) sets out against all odds to find him behind enemy lines. She ends up trapped in the violent political turmoil in Croatia. In view of the death of journalist Daniel Pearl, it's certainly a timely political thriller.

The USCCB's critic writes, "Using the backdrop of fierce political strife … Chouraqui depicts ethnic cleansing in agonizing terms, but the central story of a wife whose fear is overshadowed by love fails to resonate as powerfully as it should."

John Adair (Preview) says it's not just an action movie: "Its serious tone and message take it beyond that shallow level. The film shows great respect and honor for what these photographers go through, simply to tell stories of far off places that few people in the West are aware of. They literally risk their lives as the bombs drop and bullets fly. Their pictures tell stories others need to hear." Yet he concludes that foul language "wilts Harrison's Flowers."

"It does give us a head-on view of the dangerous, but necessary life of the photojournalist," agrees Phil Boatwright (The Movie Reporter), "but Chouraqui loses control, becoming excessive, uncontrolled, and overwrought. The characters are unlikable and the violence and language are superfluous. It is brutal and depressing. I predict this one will bomb." (A safe prediction, since the film is not playing on very many screens.)