Published in 1979, the novel “Flowers in the Attic”, by Virginia Cléo Andrews and translated into French as “Les Enfants du Péché”, fascinated millions of lovers of mysterious and Gothic family stories. We follow the tragic fate of Christopher Jr., Cathy and the twins Cory and Carrie, children of Corrine Dollanganger, who after the death of her husband Christopher finds herself penniless and returns to her childhood home, the Foxworth Lobby. She hopes to inherit from her dying father, Malcolm, and locks her four children in the attic, where they are soon tortured by their grandmother Olivia, who sees them as children of evil. His inexplicable behavior is the result of a curse that has plagued the family forever … Note that the book, which describes scenes of incest between a teenage brother and sister, was banned from selling in several regions of the world.
Author Virginia Cleo Andrews, who was living in a wheelchair due to an accident, then wrote Petals in the Wind, which focused on children after they fled the attic. She then released “Bouquet of Thorns” and “The Roots of the Past”, where the same characters develop. “Children of Sin” was adapted for the big screen in 1987, starring Louise Fletcher as Grandma Olivia. Character that was embodied by Ellen Burstyn in 2014 in a TV movie also based on the novel where Heather Graham played Corrine. The fiction in question was produced for the channel Lifetime, which over the weekend froze many people in front of the screen by launching a six-part series that, as the title suggests – “Flowers in the Attic: The Origin” – suggests discovering, first and foremost, the meeting between Olivia and Malcolm in 1920.
At the time, the first, embodied by Jemima Rooper, was working as an accountant for her father’s seemingly thriving business (run by an aging Harry Hamlin), who was trying to take care of her … And just … One night, he introduced her to a excellent party, one of the most coveted bachelors in the United States, the young, extremely wealthy and very attractive Malcolm Foxworth (Max Irons). From the first seconds of his presence, Olivia falls totally in love and forgives him, without asking any questions, for having lied to her when they started dating. In fact, he tells her that his mother died when he was five, but in reality, as Olivia learns, she died only some time before.
Quickly, Olivia moves into the lavish property of the man who, completely diabetic, hurried to ask her for her hand. But at their wedding party, the enchantment is already broken, Malcolm showing extreme cold. As for their wedding night, it was rather … a rape, the monster’s only way to touch her … Olivia was convinced she wanted to live an adventure, but instead her days and her nights are nightmares. And the day she wants to escape from what is nothing but a prison, she sees her cousin Amos (Paul Wesley from “Vampire Diaries”) arrive, who had sent her telegrams to announce her father’s death, left full of debt. Messages forwarded by Governor Madame Steiner, camped by Kate Mulgrew, who was “Madame Columbo” in another life.
Nella (T’Shan Williams), an employee, also forbids him to explore the attic, which she does anyway, at the expense of a big scare. We will not write more on this subject … The same Nella tells him that Malcolm likes “beautiful things” when Garland, the latter’s father, and his young and very loving wife Alicia have just arrived. One night, Olivia hears her scream and discovers Garland’s lifeless body, which was allegedly carried away by a heart attack. But for her, no doubt: Malcolm brutally grabbed his father and murdered him.
Later, Alicia Olivia confides that the night Garland died, Malcolm also raped her and that she was carrying his child. It does not take long before Olivia confronts her dear and tender, who admits to her that he has just married her to have a wife who runs his house and gives her children. By that time she had already had two little boys … For the first time, facing this dirty man, Olivia no longer feared him, but stood up to him and raised her voice. This is where we see her spill over into anger and rage, which is very legitimate, but which does not bode well for the future …
The first thing to note about this “prequel” is that it will be worth more to you if you know what Virginia Andrews’ novels are about. However, if this is not the case then maybe your search engine is working for you. That said, know that we are not here in the finesse of “Downton Abbey,” and that this drama, or rather these dramas and these secrets, are hypertrophied to say the least. We may even qualify it all as kitsch, but that’s not why we want to turn away from it. Admittedly, the dialogues are very basic, the situations quite harsh and already seen (at least for the moment), but the actors deliver performances of the most correct, which make the result worth seeing, if not remarkable.
So tempted by this station novel that makes you shake?