“Wildflower” brings us one of the most touching stories about families needing to learn to trust they did enough and their kin can make it on their own.


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“Wildflower” brings us one of the most touching stories about families needing to learn to trust they did enough and their kin can make it on their own.

Director(s) Matt Smukler
Screenplay By Jana Savage
Based On A True Story
Date Released (Video On Demand) March 21, 2023
Genre(s) Drama, Romance, Young Adult
Duration 1 Hour 45 Minutes
Content Rating Rated R
Noted Cast
Bea Kiernan Shipka
Derrick Dash Mihok
Sharon Samantha Hyde
Joy Alexandra Daddario
Ben Reid Scott
Peg Jean Smart
Loretta Jacki Weaver
Earl Brad Garrett
Ethan Charlie Plummer
Nia Kannon

This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text in this post may contain affiliate links which, if a purchase is made from those sites, we may earn money or products from the company.

Film Summary

Bea’s parents aren’t like everyone else’s. For them, it was love at first sight, and still, 18 years later, they dance, they cuddle, and are just as in love as they ever were. However, like other parents, they do struggle. Bea’s dad Derrick sometimes has a hard time getting and holding down a job, and Bea’s mom Sharon? She needs some extra time and care. Because of this, Bea picks up the slack, maybe even enables her parents to not do as much as they should.

To others, her parents are disabled, but they don’t see themselves that way. But, as Bea comes upon her 18th birthday, graduation, and college, she comes to a crossroad. She can either see her parents like her aunt Joy does, uncle Ben, grandmothers Peg, and Loretta, or even Grandfather Earl, or see them as they see themselves and begin to live her own life.

Things To Note

  1. A Picture of the real “Bea” is shown before the credits

Why Is “Wildflower” Rated R

  • Dialog: There is cursing sporadically throughout the movie and a handful of use of the word “retarded”
  • Violence: Derrick does hit Bea, but outside of that, there is no notable violence
  • Sexual Content: Implied sex and also unwanted fondling
  • Miscellaneous: Drinking, smoking, and depiction of vomiting

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Bea mentions her parents laughing at the funeral of Uncle Fred – whose brother was he?

Collected Quote(s)

Accepting help doesn’t make you helpless.
— Ethan

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Bea

Bea Kiernan Shipka in Wildflower 2023 scaled

Depending on who you ask, Bea raised herself, was brought up like a feral animal, or is simply a girl who didn’t know how to love someone if they didn’t need her.

Derrick

Sharon Samantha Hyde and Derrick Dash Mihok in Wildflower 2023 scaled

Derrick is Bea’s father who, after being hit by a drunk driver as a kid, had some learning delays. But, despite that, he is a proud man, a follower of Jesus, and an advocate for his wife and family.

Sharon

Sharon is Bea’s mom, who wasn’t necessarily trusted by her mother Peg, dad Earl, or even older sister Joy to take care of herself, never mind Bea. Yet, with love, she may have struggled and stumbled, but she remained a constant in her child’s life.

Joy

Ben Reid Scott and Joy Alexandra Daddario in Wildflower 2023 scaled

Joy is Sharon’s older sister who doesn’t fully embrace her sister’s capabilities. She holds a low bar for her, especially regarding raising a child, likely due to her being a helicopter parent.

Ben

Ben, Joy’s husband, is as bad as her at overprotecting their kids.

Peg

Peg Jean Smart in Wildflower 2023 scaled

Peg is Joy and Sharon’s mother, who does her best to help Sharon and Bea, whenever possible.

Loretta

Loretta Jacki Weaver in Wildflower 2023 scaled

Loretta is Derrick’s drinking and smoking mom, who is a wild card, particularly in regard to what may come out of her mouth.

Earl

Earl Brad Garrett in Wildflower 2023 scaled

Earl is Peg’s ex-husband who is the father of Joy and Sharon.

Ethan

Ethan Charlie Plummer in Wildflower 2023 scaled

Ethan is the son of the Squatty Potty King, who had testicular cancer as a child, which is, unfortunately, public knowledge.

Nia

Nia Kannon in Wildflower 2023 scaled

Nia is Bea’s best friend.

Review

Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

Highlights

Bea’s Journey To Accepting Her Parents Didn’t Need Her But Were Enabled And Trusted Her

Learning how to love and accept another person takes a whole lifetime, and with family, there is an incentive to not give up because of the accountability that comes from other family members and due to time spent together. Yet, as shown in Bea’s journey, family can be trifling. Because Derrick and Sharon are different, there were conversations about them getting sterilized and about taking Bea from them. When Bea got to a certain age, you can tell she looked down and misjudged her parents too.

Yet, that is one thing “Wildflower” does wonderfully in making it clear Sharon and Derrick were capable of so much. It is just no one had faith in them to learn and often enabled them to do nothing. You can even see with how Joy raises her kids how Sharon, and likely Derrick too, were brought up. And the sad thing is, Bea fell into that trap. She was scoring well in private school, was on the track team, and was working, and despite all she could do, her focus was on what she thought her parents weren’t capable of.

Mind you, her dad is a proud man, and her mom, when she had a routine, could potentially do a lot. However, no one gave Derrick or Sharon the privilege of failing and always wanted to monitor them and enable their worse qualities. Thus making it seem they were dependent.

But, as Derrick makes clear, this was likely never the case. They appreciated the help since we’re clued into how tiring it can be for them to look for work, not fit in and get fired, and all the other adult responsibilities that would make any person exhausted and want to hand over the reins to someone capable. However, they never needed Bea to grow up and be an adult before she was 16. If anything, they were conditioned to think families took care of one another, and what they may not have given her in terms of what she saw in other families, they more than made up for it in giving her love and being a beautiful example of it.

Appreciating Making This About More Than Sharon and Derrick

“Wildflower” has this wonderful balance between showing how Sharon and Derrick operate and see the world, and each other, while not making it all about them. You can see their influence and why their lives are the way it is, but Bea is allowed to have her own life, and her family shows individual struggles and personalities that make them stand out.

Focusing on Bea, she’s allowed to have a best friend in Nia, a bully, an interest in Astronomy and track, and even a boyfriend in Ethan. Someone who helps further your understanding that Derrick and Sharon likely aren’t treated how they are because they are seen as “Special,” but that’s simply how the family loves. They do so by caring for one another, maybe beyond what is needed. Hence Bea tells Ethan if his cancer came back, she’d take care of him. Acts of service, within both sides of her family, especially her mother’s, is a love language.

And outside of Bea, you have Grandma Loretta, who has a smoking, drinking, and a problem with missed opportunities. Grandma Peg’s marriage fell apart, her oldest daughter doesn’t need her, and the one who gave her some sense of fulfillment moved away with her grandchild. Thus leaving her to think about herself for once, which she doesn’t seem to like doing that much.

It goes on and on from Ethan’s aforementioned cancer and feeling a bit aimless, to Nia dealing with racism at school and struggling with not having the same opportunities or interested parties as Bea.

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Title Card
Wildflower (2023) – Review/ Summary (with Spoilers)
Overall
“Wildflower” displays both a delicate touch and sometimes raw approach to having family members who live life differently due to them being neurodivergent. It doesn’t push you to give them sympathy or make them out to be strong. They are simply as different as any two people you’d see throughout life. Yet, it doesn’t just put them on a pedestal and make it all about them. “Wildflower” is an ensemble piece that makes it clear the world doesn’t begin and end when Derrick and Sharon wake up and go to bed. Everyone is going through something, and many aren’t sure whether that problem can be solved or not.
Highlights
Bea’s Journey To Accepting Her Parents Didn’t Need Her But Were Enabled And Trusted Her
Appreciating Making This About More Than Sharon and Derrick
Disputable
83

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