The Horror Honeys: 'My Sweet Audrina': Time, as Irrelevant as Honesty...

'My Sweet Audrina': Time, as Irrelevant as Honesty...

An "Exactly What You'd Expect" Review with Revenge Honey Linnie

My Sweet Audrina (2016)

“What is normal? Normal is only ordinary; mediocre. Life belongs to the rare, exceptional individual who dares to be different.” 

In the last year, Lifetime has basically become the home for women of a certain age nostalgic for the books of their youth. For most women, the novels of V.C. Andrews were our first experience with... forbidden literature. "Flowers in the Attic" was like a puberty membership card, and when one of your friends handed it to you, you felt like you were finally a grownup. For some, "Flowers" may have been the only book you read, because it was the "It" book. Or maybe, like me, you read every single Andrews book you could get your hands on with ravenous glee.

You'd think that movies based off of V.C. Andrews books would have been a guaranteed goldmine, but after the 1987 version of Flowers in the Attic paled in comparison to the book in every way possible, a film future for the Dollanganger/Foxworth family, or any of Andrews' creations, seemed unlikely. But then Lifetime swooped in in 2015 with film versions of the entire Dollanganger series (which we'll cover later), and more recently, the standalone My Sweet Audrina.

So did it hold up? It's Lifetime, baby! Where the hell else would you go for the kind of campy and incredibad film drama necessary to bring a V.C. Andrews novel to life?

Nope. Nothing awkward here.
The Story: Audrina Adare lives a life of absolute seclusion. Named after a sister who died tragically a few years before she was born, Audrina is both doted on and obsessed over by her slightly loony Papa, Damian. Also living in the family's gothic mansion are Audrina's Aunt Ellsbeth, and her rotten cousin Vera. Vera torments Audrina, both because Papa adores her, and also because Audrina has massive lapses in memory, often unable to recall the hour before. Are her memory lapses the result of her father's odd obsession with the "First Audrina," or is something more sinister at play?

Papa, there's a whole world of women out there. Leave me be.
My Sweet Audrina spans just over a decade in the life of the Adare family, and while the film sticks fairly close to the book, several major characters and plot points are left out. That being said, Lifetime did what it could within the confines of network television, because Audrina focuses heavily on the subjects of gang rape, electric-shock therapy, and murder, and the film managed to still get the points across well. From a script standpoint, writer Scarlett Lacey did a fabulous job on adaptation, and even left in some of my favorite lines from the book. Granted, they seem goofy and awkward when spoken out loud, but damn if they aren't still fabulous.

The cast of My Sweet Audrina is also about as perfect as it could be. While Audrina is portrayed at different ages by different actresses, "adult" Audrina is played by India Eisley, a woman who can drink beer legally but looks like she should be carded trying to see an R-rated movie. Her baby-face is just unsettling enough to put you on edge for the last half of the film, making you want to slap the hand of anyone who touches her. James Tupper (of any nighttime soap you've ever watched) is also perfectly cast as "Papa" Adare. He's sexy, but at the same time, more than a little creepy, which is exactly the right tone needed to play just about any man in an Andrews story.

One of the things that young women always respond to in V.C. Andrews books is how well she captures the pain of adolescence; the confusion of puberty and sex, the disconnect you begin feeling from your family, and the overwhelming desire to find your own way. Everything in My Sweet Audrina is amplified to make these points: Audrina's life-long love with Ardan Lowe (played as an adult by William Moseley), but her terrifying memories that make it impossible for her to connect with him sexually, her inability to live up to a standard set my someone she never even met, and the torture inflicted on her by her jealous cousin... these are all extreme stand-ins for normal, adolescent fears. Andrews was just really amazing at making the normal, exceptional... if maybe a little maudlin.

Fuck you, Vera. Fuck you.
My Sweet Audrina isn't going to attract fair-weather fans of V.C. Andrews, and it will probably confuse people who don't know anything about her books. But as an adaptation of a novel I loved as a child, it made me ridiculously happy for an hour and a half. And what more can you ask of a Lifetime movie?

Revenge Honey Rating: 4 Audrina's out of 5

My Sweet Audrina is available on the Lifetime App, iTunes, and... OnDemand maybe?
I don't know. I don't have cable.

What was YOUR favorite V.C. Andrews book?
Tell Linnie on Twitter: @linnieloowho