Music as a Catalyst for Change: An In-Depth Look at John Carney’s Flora and Son Review

“Music as a Catalyst for Change: An In-Depth Look at John Carney’s ‘Flora and Son'”


John Carney, the writer-director behind the critically acclaimed musicals Once and Sing Street, is back with his latest work, “Flora and Son.” The film follows the story of a young single mother, Flora (played by Eve Hewson), who is trying to raise her son Max (Orén Kinlan) in Dublin. In an effort to steer Max away from a life of theft, Flora presents him with a guitar, but when Max shows no interest in it, she decides to take up the instrument herself, hiring an online guitar teacher from L.A. named Jeff (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt).

As Flora and Jeff get to know each other through their practice sessions, the power of music transforms their lives and relationships, showing the true transformative power that music can have. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at how John Carney uses music as a catalyst for change in “Flora and Son.”

Music as a Bonding Agent

Music has always been a powerful tool for connecting people and bringing them together, no matter their differences. This is a theme that Carney has explored in his previous films, and it’s one that he continues to explore in “Flora and Son.” Jeff, the online guitar teacher, is initially hesitant to work with Flora, but as he gets to know her and sees her dedication to learning the guitar, he begins to see her as a person, rather than just another client.

Similarly, as Flora and Max begin to bond over their love of music, the once-fractured relationship between mother and son is transformed. Carney does a masterful job of showing how music can bring people together, allowing them to connect in ways that would have been impossible without it.

Music as a Transformative Tool

Carney also explores the idea that music can be a transformative tool, changing the lives of those who are involved in it. This is evident in how Jeff teaches Flora the power and importance of lyrics and how they can be used to convey a message. As Jeff helps Flora to understand the power of music, she, in turn, helps him to refine his own musical abilities. Through their shared love of music, both characters grow and evolve, becoming more compassionate, more loving, and more considerate toward those around them.

The Power of Lyrics

Carney emphasizes the power of lyrics throughout the film, showing how a well-written song can connect with people on an emotional level. Jeff uses his rendition of “I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes)” to show Flora the significance of a great song, while Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” transforms Flora’s musical mindset and shows her the power of well-written music.

The Power of Music to Overcome Distance

In “Flora and Son,” Carney also explores the idea that distance doesn’t matter when it comes to music. Despite being thousands of miles apart, Flora and Jeff feel a closeness that is palpable, as if they are in the same room, playing music together. This is shown in a beautiful scene where Jeff comes out of Flora’s computer, sitting in front of her with his guitar, demonstrating the bond that has formed between the two through their shared love of music.


In conclusion, John Carney’s “Flora and Son” is a film that explores the power of music to connect people, transform lives, and overcome distance. Carney uses music as a catalyst for change, showing how it can bring

Movie Details

Directed byJohn Carney
Written byJohn Carney
Produced byDavid Carney, Anthony Bregman, Peter Cron, Rebecca O’Flanagan
StarringJoseph Gordon-Levitt, Eve Hewson, Orén Kinlan, Jack Reynor
CinematographyJohn Conroy
Edited byStephen O’Connell
Music byGary Clark, John Carney
Likely Story, Distressed Films, FilmNation Entertainment, Fifth Season, Screen Ireland, Treasure Entertainment
Distributed byApple TV+
Release dateJanuary 22, 2023
Running time94 minutes
CountriesUnited StatesIreland

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