Austin Film Festival 2014
By Don Simpson | October 30, 2014
Director: Eric Hueber
Writers: Eric Hueber, Tony Franklin Jr.
Starring: Lindsay Pulsipher, Johnathan Huth Jr., Glenn Morshower, Charles Baker, Denton Blane Everett, Charles Halford, James Hampton, Marcus Hysmith, Kathy Lamkin, Denise Lee, Brad Leland, Rex Linn, Brad Maule, Reis Myers McCormick, Jesse Plemons
JoLynn (Lindsay Pulsipher) is a truly nurturing mother who undoubtedly loves her nine-year old son, Johnathan (Johnathan Huth Jr.). She homeschools him in order to personally address to his specific learning needs (which always seems to revolve around sea monsters) while fostering his mischievous thirst for adventure; JoLynn even hydroponically grows marijuana, treating Johnathan’s glaucoma with pot brownies because she cannot afford traditional medicine.
Yet it is quite difficult not to criticize some of JoLynn’s parental decisions, starting with giving birth to a child — Johnathan — when she was only 18-years old. Currently, her only source of income comes from selling parakeets, which does not earn her nearly enough money to cover the rent or utilities for their ramshackle house. One can only assume that JoLynn does not want a traditional job out of sheer lack of trust for anyone else to take care of Johnathan. Some might even question JoLynn’s conscious decision to not sell marijuana, though she has been known to pass a few kind buds along to customers who buy parakeets.
While it is clear that JoLynn has made every one of her decisions in the last nine years with Johnathan’s best interests in her heart, it is also obvious that JoLynn lives in a fantasy world not unlike her son. JoLynn naively keeps the hope alive that her absentee husband (Jesse Plemons) will become a successful musician and send money back home; just as she also seems to believe that the rent, utilities and food costs will miraculously get paid. She truly has hit rock bottom; the worst part is that JoLynn has no plan, other than to keep Child Protective Services far away from her house.
A transcendent love letter to single mothers, Flutter sprinkles it’s emotional wallop with whimsical flights of fancy. Flutter is a truly magical film, both in its uncanny ability to tug at heartstrings as well as in it’s knack for fantastical imagery. Pairing the allure of childhood wonderment with the unyielding seriousness of parenthood, this is one of those rare viscerally experiential films that also provides profound connections with the characters. Dripping with authenticity, every scene seems to have been taken directly from real life experiences. The dialogue never seems superfluous or overtly expository, it seems to flow directly from the actors’ lips with natural panache.
Most importantly, this is a performance of a lifetime for Lindsay Pulsipher. While a lot of credit goes into the development of JoLynn’s character on the page, Pulsipher brings JoLynn to life. As embodied by Pulsipher, JoLynn is an incredibly complex character who consistently questions our perceptions of “good” parenting. It certainly helps that Pulsipher has an excellent cast surrounding her, especially newcomer Johnathan Huth Jr. and veteran actor Glenn Morshower.