The Lost Flowers Of Alice Hart is a seven-episode miniseries based on the namesake novel by Holly Ringland. Adapted for the small screen by Sarah Lambert, the drama follows the titular heroine through her traumatic childhood leading to her troubled adulthood. Prime Video premiered the first three episodes on 4 August 2023, with all subsequent episodes being released weekly over the next month.
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The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart Review
When we first meet Alice (played as a child by Alyla Browne), she has what appears to be a perfect day with her two doting parents, Agnes (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) and Clem (Charlie Vickers), near their idyllic Australian shorefront home. But underneath the perfect dad facade lurks a physically and emotionally violent man. Clem routinely abuses his family, and they only get respite when he goes away with work. That’s when Alice and Agnes tend to their wildflower garden and play pretend on the beach.
Tragedy strikes one day with a housefire and the death of both Clem and Agnes, leaving Alice an orphan and temporarily rendering her mute. While the kind librarian, Sally (Asher Keddie), and her police officer husband want to adopt the young girl, she’s ultimately sent to live with her mysterious estranged paternal grandmother, June (Sigourney Weaver).
June runs a refuge for domestic abuse survivors at Thornhill, a secluded wildflower farm. There Alice starts learning to communicate her feelings using the language of flowers, and she finds solace among the other women, including Twig (Leah Purcell) and Candy (Frankie Adams). But June is not completely honest with her granddaughter. And her secrets are threatening to ruin Alice’s adulthood even more than her violent father did.
The first three episodes centre on young Alice getting acclimatized with her new surroundings, while the rest of the series does a time jump to an adult Alice (Alycia Debnam-Carey) uncovering June’s lies and trying to make a life for herself out in the desert.
The Lost Flowers Of Alice Hart is not an easy show to watch. It’s way too accurate in its portrayal of domestic violence. Vickers does an amazing job of portraying that split second when Clem switches from happy and smiling to rageful. Sometimes the switch is so subtle Agnes and Alice don’t realize anything is wrong until it’s too late, and they’re already on the floor pleading for him to stop. It’s a compellingly raw viewing experience.
Sigourney Weaver gives the performance of a lifetime as June, and she is the true star of this series. June is such a complex character, and the actress portrays her with a sublime subtlety. While the character does some questionable (and outright evil) things in the course of the show, it’s hard to write her off. June is more complicated than that, and Sigourney Weaver is brilliant at peeling off all those complex layers.
Even though the show is only seven episodes long, it does drag unnecessarily. There are too many subplots within subplots, and some of the more poignant themes go too far into the melodrama.
The timeline for the second half of the series is all over the place. Alice gets a lot done while in the desert (she starts a relationship, finds a new job, rents a house, and builts a friend group), while only a few days seem to have passed for the rest of the characters.
And then there are the letters. For a series set in contemporary times, far too many people send letters instead of emails or texts. It’s impossible to believe that in the age of the smartphone (and all the characters have those), someone could successfully cut another person off from their family members’ life and keep it a secret for several years.
Despite its setbacks, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is a beautifully shot and gripping series. It’s not perfect, and it’s not a lighthearted watch, but it’s worth a stream.
Lori C. is an entertainment writer who studied Film and Television at University. She watches and reviews films and series from most genres, but some of her favourites include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, The Handmaid’s Tale, Westworld, and True Blood.