Wildflower is one of those family films that makes you miss your own. It’s heartfelt and adorable, with multiple fabulous performances. We definitely can’t go without mentioning Jean Smart and Jackie Weaver as the feisty duo that is always bickering. Both Peg and Loretta have had their own difficulties in their lives. They’re both afraid of abandonment and have the tendency to control everything around them, which is why they hate each other’s guts. They’re two sides of the same coin. Peg has two daughters; one is Sharon, and the other is Joy. Peg loves both her daughters dearly and wishes happiness for both of them. Peg’s husband, Earl, on the other hand, doesn’t appreciate the fact that they had to look after Sharon for 21 years and deems her a burden. It’s rather unfortunate that he tries to peg those feelings on his wife too, who happens to be completely fine with looking after her child for all her life. Peg does feel guilty for allowing Sharon to stay married, have a child, and finally leave the house with no supervision. She understands deep down that her daughter needs the freedom, but she’s also constantly worried about her.
On the other hand, Loretta had big dreams for her son, Derek. She had a vision of him becoming a doctor who would buy her a house until he had a traumatic head injury at age 12, and his brain stopped functioning properly. Loretta brought Derek up Catholic, and we see a really interesting scene when Derek tells Bea that she can be lesbian, and God will still love her. That’s a huge part of Derek’s personality, and we see him ask everyone he meets if they believe in Jesus. Loretta puts on a tough exterior when all she wants is a happy life for Derek. The dream life she had in mind for Derek was with a different kind of young woman, but in the end, she realizes that the life he’s had with Sharon is as perfect as it can get, and her wishes have been fulfilled.
Initially, Loretta was completely against Derek and Sharon having babies because she was sure they could never take care of them. She had wanted to sterilize Sharon, and Peg had been completely against it. This was how Bea was born. Loretta is always smoking, and Peg is always stopping her from doing so; whether they admit it or not, they need each other for comfort. While Loretta was more removed from Derek and Sharon’s lives, Peg had them live with her in the initial years of the marriage. She had been very involved in taking care of Bea as a baby. It is possible that Peg felt responsible for Bea because she was against Sharon being sterilized and was confident that this outcome would not have been the case if she had just said yes. This is why, when Bea is hospitalized, she’s the one who stays with her throughout. There’s a lot of guilt there; maybe Peg also wanted to selfishly bring up Bea as her own daughter. In the case of Loretta, she was more removed from the situation; she didn’t see Bea very often, but that was okay. After years of keeping her distance, when Bea is in the hospital bed, Loretta comes to the realization that Bea is living the life she had dreamed up for Derek.
Peg and Loretta have completely opposite personalities, as one is focused on fixing things, and the other is drunk most of the time. They balance out each other’s kinks and purely depend on themselves for everything in their lives. We know Loretta has had more than one ex-husband, and Peg is separated from Earl when he turns out to be a huge let down during Bea’s first few months. We can assume that one big argument caused the separation, but the differences were always there. When Bea has a head injury, their biggest worry is that she will end up like her father, Derek. What they don’t realize is that Bea has already lived as an adult, and whatever she does next, she’ll be able to take care of herself, at least the way they would hope.
Finally, at the end of the movie, we see Loretta break out of her shell and actually cry for once. It’s ironic that Peg is the one who finds her smoking again in the toilet. Loretta is finally able to accept the fact that Derek is not the same as he was before the accident. She had wanted a son who would buy her a house; instead, she got one who didn’t even have a proper job. But it was Bea who changed all of that for Loretta. She also finally admits that Sharon is the perfect match for Derek, and they actually live happily together. The life they wished they could’ve given their own children is now being led by their granddaughter, Bea. She is the tether that brings them all together and makes them proud. It takes time and patience to understand people, and Loretta and Peg finally see each other as reflections of each other.
Wildflower may not be everyone’s cup of tea because of its common cliches, but it definitely feels like something real. A lot of people may compare this to CODA and feel disappointed by its familiar outcomes, but if viewed as an individual movie, it’s definitely moving! A good watch for when you want a little cry.