Hot Take: A cross between a Lifetime Movie and an After School Special, Daisy Winters makes for a mediocre cinematic experience.
The back story for Daisy Winters is probably more interesting than the movie itself. Listed as early as 2003, Daisy Winters was supposed to be the first film directed by Beth LaMure. With Emma Roberts (12 years old at the time) and Rachel Weisz attached, LaMure’s second screenplay was set for production. It still ended up being LaMure’s directorial debut but it took over a decade for the film to make it to the big screen and by the time it made it there, the cast looked much different. Things took a dark turn before the film could even be released when LaMure took her own life soon after the film completed shooting. LaMure, 51, suffered with bipolar disorder and hanged herself in her bathroom. As Daisy Winters deals with a number of dark issues, suicide is a prevalent theme and with the back story, makes for a macabre viewing once you’re aware of the mitigating factors.
Daisy (Sterling Jerins) is an 11-year-old girl who has an unconventional relationship with her mother Sandy (Brooke Shields) and is facing the reality of her mother’s eventual death as she battles a persistent cancer that will not stay in remission. Concerned she will be forced to live with her aunt Margaret (Carrie Preston), Daisy devises a plan to take care of herself if her mother dies to keep from having to go stay with her aunt. Daisy has no filter and says everything that comes to mind including sharing her views on a family friend’s suicide attempt directly via her writing, her disgust with her aunt’s boasting about her daughter over dinner and her perception that her neighbor (who eventually hangs himself) is depressed to anyone that will listen. Mature beyond her age, Daisy wants more than anything to know who her father is and is unabashed in her constant requests of her mother to tell her.
Daisy Winters is a dark film with subtle humor but somewhat lacking when it comes to any real emotional heft. It’s the equivalent of an After School Special with the maturity slightly amped up to Lifetime Movie levels. Showing at just 89 theaters, it’s unlikely she’ll have a life beyond this week so the window to see the film is closing fast. However, it’s hard to argue it’s worth rushing out to see as this one is more suited for a smaller screen and might even benefit from a few commercial breaks.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- Another Young Performer Delivers
In the titular role, Sterling Jerins gives a solid performance. Better known for her roles in The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2, Jerins role is a different kind of dark in Daisy Winters.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- The Art of Coincidence
Daisy Winters occasionally slips into sitcom level with its numerous coincidences that drive the story forward. It makes for a clunky plot and is one of the elements that keeps the film from being better than mediocre.