Movie review: Flora, Ulysses a cute pair
Three out of Five Stars
By Joanna MacGown
As far as family flicks go, “Flora & Ulysses” is a solid entry in the genre. Disney+ appears to be making an effort to give movies to female directors like Lena Khan, and I have to respect them for that, even if the projects don’t always turn out as well as this one.
There are no big-name actors, just Alyson Hannigan and Ben Schwartz as Flora’s parents (plus a cameo from Kate DiCamillo, the author of the original book), but it is all the better to keep the focus on the title characters.
Flora is a self-declared cynical child, due mostly to her parent’s rocky relationship and fairly recent separation. Ulysses is a squirrel she rescued from a robot vacuum cleaner who subsequently develops superpowers.
I’m not a huge fan of all-CG characters, but Ulysses won me over in short order. I’m not so forgiving of the CG cat, though.
Cynical characters are hard to get right, especially cynical children (C.S. Lewis is the only writer I’ve found that could reliably pull it off). However Matilda Lawler’s performance is certainly charming, even if I’m not completely sold on her as a cynic.
Thus, we get a zany “superhero” plot interspersed with some heartfelt human drama and plenty of sheer cuteness. The meta-commentary about superheroes has been done to death by now (and you can bet Flora’s love for comics is milked for all the cross-promotion it is worth). But the main focus is on her relationship with her dad, who tried to break into the comics industry himself once upon a time.
“Flora & Ulysses” is a cute family movie with an endearing cast of characters. It won’t blow your mind, or even make you feel too much, but sometimes that’s all you want.