When sisters – and complete polar opposites – Rosa (Eva Birthistle) and Ailie (Charity Wakefield) steal their fathers ashes from their widowed step-mother, they set off on a trip to Cuba, to scatter them on the annual celebration, ‘The Day of the Flowers’ – in a place where their parents had experienced many fond memories supporting the revolution. Though Rosa is an activist, always looking for change in what she perceives to be a superficial world – her fashionista sister epitomises everything she’s against. Upon arrival in Cuba, this film takes a farcical turn, and suddenly the sisters find themselves travelling aimlessly around the island, finding some men on their way to avoid (Christopher Simpson), and some they’d quite like to stick around (Carlos Acosta).
If there is one thing to be said of Day of the Flowers, is the beautiful aesthetic experience it provides the viewer, as a visual treat that shows off Cuba for all of its natural beauty. The Caribbean island is such a vibrant place, and works as a wonderful backdrop to this story, while the culture is explored, as a nation renowned for its cigars, rum and jazz music – not to mention the political context that exists, which regrettably isn’t delved into with nearly enough depth. Though picturesque, the setting is somewhat broad, and given this film is a traditional farce, such features tend to work better in smaller locations. Instead, Roberts makes out Cuba to be the size of Hastings, as the characters – who don’t seem to care much for mobile phones – head off on road trips and get lost in the middle of nowhere, but it’s okay, if they wander around a bit they’re bound to bump into someone they know.
Given the melodrama that ensues, the acting suffers, as the immoderate performances do little to inspire, while the less said about Wakefield’s Ailie the better. The characters are not particularly likeable nor endearing either. To begin with that’s absolutely fine, but the whole point is that over the course of the movie, we eventually get on side and root for our protagonists, but that simply isn’t the case. Rosa is the most irritating, as a stubborn, self-righteous and naïve individual who needs to just calm down and enjoy her holiday. Meanwhile, the award for the most pointless character of the year goes to Bryan Dick’s Conway – a random friend who decides to travel with the sisters, brigning absolutely nothing whatsoever to proceedings.
That said, Day of the Flowers is an extremely multilayered piece, and Roberts must be commended for creating something a little different. However sadly, there is almost too much going on, and it’s difficult to figure out quite what the focus of the piece is. As the revelations all come to light towards the latter stages, the film grows increasingly inane. Original this may be, simplistic it is not.