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Harrison's Flowers  
Starring:Marie Trintignant, Alun Armstrong, Christopher Clarke, Andie MacDowell, David Strathairn
Directed by:Elie Chouraqui
Produced by:Albert J. Cohen, Elie Chouraqui, Albert Cohen
Written by:Elie Chouraqui, Didier LePecheur, Isabel Ellsen, Michael Katims
Distributor:Universal Focus
Release Date:March 15 2002

This could be considered a good period piece as the trials of Slobodan Milosevic head the national papers. He was formerly the president of Yugoslavia. He is accused of over 600 Kosovo Albanians deaths. If you have been living in a shell he is currently on trial for crimes against humanity, and war crimes during his reign as president.

That is what this movie has a big part of it's focus on. It is extremely graffic. When Sarah Lloyd (Andie MacDowell) finds out that her husband Harrison (David Strathairn) is presumed dead in a far away country she uses shear guts, and determination to find him. Harrison is an award winning photojournalist who is on assignment a lot. Feeling like he hasn't spent appropriate time with his kids he decides to take one more assignment. When he is asked to go to cover the escalating violence in the Serbo-Croatian War he doesn't hesitate to fullfill his duty. The film focuses on too many issues, and loses its direction trying to accomadate both the love story or the terrible atrocities. Does this film want to be a film about endearing love? Or does it want to say something about the ethnic cleansing that it so visibly shows? French director Elie Chouraqui does an above average job portraying the horror's of the war very realistically, but fails to be convincing on the side of love. The main question that could be asked is how could anybody search for a loved one while such atrocities were going on around them? How could she (Sarah Lloyd) convince Harrison's associates to risk life, and limb to search for him? The answer is that Sarah doesn't seem to have what it takes, she doesn't seem to have the backbone necessary to do such things.

Andie Macdowell star of such films as Sex, Lies, and Videotape seems more slated for romantic film, which this theatrical release takes a stab at. It falls short of convincing on that aspect. If the relationship was to be believable it should have built upon their relationship more, before he goes off missing. It reminds me of Pearl Harbor where you have a love story messing up what it really should have been about. The movie is slow throughout, but picks up speed when you see the scenes of the ethnic cleansing. The scenes are very graffic, and makes a fine point of the sickness that had overtaken the nation. This is a film that has some heart to it, and really could have made a statement about the problems in Yugoslavia, but misses.

Sean Chandler
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