Lights, camera, action!


The cinematic world is certainly not immune to the effects of Flower Power. Throughout the years, various blooms have served as key plot points - both symbolic and literal - and memorable visual storytelling tools. Here are just a few examples:

One of the most iconic images in cinematic history is that of Mena Suvari laying naked on a bed of crimson red rose petals in American Beauty. This 1999 Oscar winning drama was the master work of director Sam Mendes. Its title had a double meaning. The American Beauty is one of the most famous cultivated roses in history, a creation of Henri Lédéchaux in France in 1875. It is not only one of the best-selling rose varieties each year for Valentine’s day in the United States but also the symbol of the District of Columbia.

In Big Fish hopeless romantic Edward Bloom, played by Ewan McGregor, “tells his stories so many times that he becomes the stories.” In one of the movie's most mesmerizing scenes, Bloom makes a grand and surreal attempt to secure the girl of his dreams by planting an endless sea of bright yellow daffodils outside her window. 

Every fashionista fantasizes about being Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face, a mousy librarian reimagined as glamorous model by fashion photographer Fred Astaire. Their photoshoot at the Paris flower market is the stuff of dreams.

And who can forget Jay Gatsby's offering of a roomful of blooms to his beloved Daisy in the 2013 version of The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio? The scene is so lush, it is easy to imagine the overwhelming, intoxicating scent in the room.

The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds is a 1972 American drama film produced and directed by Paul Newman and based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same title by Paul Zindel. The title is quite a mouthful and refers both to a science experiment conducted by one of the main characters, as well as to the toxic family environment the film depicts.

White Oleander is a 2002 American drama film directed by Peter Kosminsky chronicling the life of a young teenager who journeys through a series of foster homes after her mother goes to prison for committing a crime of passion – poisoning a lover with the toxic oleander bloom.

Who hasn't sobbed their way through Steel Magnolias? The title of this 1989 American comedy-drama film directed by Herbert Ross suggests the main female characters can be both as delicate as the magnolia flower, and as tough as steel.

The Black Dahlia is a 2006 thriller film directed by Brian De Palma drawn from the novel of the same name by James Ellroy. Both are based on the widely sensationalized 1947 murder of aspiring actress Elizabeth Short, nicknamed The Black Dahlia by the Hollywood press because of her black hair, black attire and the fact that she always wore a dahlia flower in her hair. Perhaps an idea for the opening night gala?