Review of Neverbloomers by Sharon Hyman

Neverbloomers: the Search for Grownuphood
59 minutes
by Sharon Hyman

Our media focuses its attention on early bloomers and sometimes late bloomers, but never has it ever given any attention to neverbloomers, or the concept of never blooming, as if being wildly successful was the only phenomenon worth covering.

Forty-something documentary filmmaker Sharon Hyman has lived in the same apartment for 20 years, has never married or had children and has never learned to drive (like many Montrealers d'ailleurs). Although she has made a few films with her friend Naomi Levine, Hyman considers herself a neverbloomer and is still waiting for adulthood.

In her search for her inner grown-up, Sharon asks her friends, mother, mentors, a neighbour, a rabbi, a complete stranger, fellow students and aunt Rhoda what it feels like to be an adult.Their answers are both thought-provoking and funny, and in the end, they are all different. Naomi Levine's 84-year-old father says that he still feels like a kid.

Hyman uses a purple flower-power generic and some sappy, yet memorable, hits from the early 70s to pull us back into our own childhoods when most of us were watching the Partridge Family and looking forward to being adults. Using the same actress in vintage footage playing a 60s gogo dancer and the traditional frazzled mother with a hyperactive brood, Hyman reminds us of the two options we seemingly had as girls growing up.

But for many Gen Xers and Ys, the marriage, family, mortgage hallmarks of adulthood no longer exist. So how does someone know when she's finally an adult? Although Hyman sets out to find an answer to her own personal question about neverbloomers and adulthood, she hits on a much larger phenomenon with this film. After graduation and landing a job, what are the new defining moments of our adult lives? Do we need any?

The strength in this film lies in the diversity of the subjects whom the director interviews, and sometimes it's what they say in passing that is the most enlightening. For instance, Hyman's neighbour of 15 years says that in her lifetime, the worst discrimination she has faced was not because she was gay or a woman, but because of her size.

There is also an interesting common thread about being nice. One subject says that she had to be nice to be tolerated, and when she stopped being nice and starting being herself, she felt like an adult. Being able to speak my mind was also when I began feeling like an adult. The film also has some wonderful scenes with those who are almost completely absent from both our big and small screens--older women. They speak frankly about the traditional paths in life. My favourite is Aunt Rhoda.

As you watch this film, you might find yourself asking the same question: Am I a neverbloomer? I certainly did.

Don't miss it! And make sure you watch it with a few friends.

Check out the trailer below:

Neverbloomers Opening from Sharon Hyman on Vimeo. .


Kathryn | March 16, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Solid review. Makes me want to see "NeverBloomers."

Heather | March 17, 2012 at 12:52 PM

It had me thinking about a lot of things. For one, would Sharon Hyman would have become a well-known director if she had been a man? Because cultural construct of success, particularly in the arts, is accessible only to men. It's always dressed up as accessible to all, but rarely does that little door ever open for women and minorities. I also loved Lou Levine's anti-consumerist message. He is really the poster boy of happiness. It's about living within your means and learning something new every day. I liked this movie because it really spoke to me about my generation: the women who made the choice not to marry. There's a whole new culture of women developing, yet no one has put a name on it yet. Heather

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