Review: ‘Hayflower and Quiltshoe’

Sprightly Finnish kidflick "Hayflower and Quiltshoe" gets off to a roaring start with some of the most memorably bratty behavior in recent screen memory. Story momentum flags a bit later on, but this candy-colored confection nonetheless packs enough fun to enchant younger viewers. Outside Scandinavia, TV sales are signaled.

Sprightly Finnish kidflick “Hayflower and Quiltshoe” gets off to a roaring start with some of the most memorably bratty behavior in recent screen memory. Story momentum flags a bit later on, but this candy-colored confection nonetheless packs enough fun to enchant younger viewers. Outside Scandinavia, TV sales are signaled.

Amid a hyper-real rural environ that’s like “Ma Vie en Rose” seen through a rosier, more antic lens, rebellion brews in the Alibullen clan. Neglectful scientist dad (Paivi Akonpelto) is too absorbed in his potato research; mom (Merja Larivaara) is an admittedly hopeless housekeeper and worse cook. Older daughter Hayflower (Katriina Tavi) bears all this with saintly patience, doing most of mum’s tasks for her. But little Quiltshoe (a formidable perf by pint-sized Tilda Kiianlehto) is fed up, especially once news penetrates that sis will soon abandon her for a first school year. Shrilling, “Children don’t always have to be nice!,” Quiltshoe wreaks inventive havoc, so much so that at last angelic Hayflower stages her own counter-protesting meltdown. Eccentric support characters and delightful design contribs more than compensate for slightly undernourished story and ditto resolution. Tech package is aces.

Hayflower and Quiltshoe

Finland

Production

A Kinotaurus presentation in association with FS Film Oy. Produced by Marko Rauhala, Sinikka Usvamaa. Directed by Kaisa Rastimo. Screenplay, Rastimo, Marko Rauhala.

Crew

Camera (color), Tuomo Vertanen; editor, Rastimo; production designer, Katriina Ilmaranta; music, Hector. Reviewed at Mill Valley Film Festival, Oct. 6, 2003. Running time: 72 MIN.

With

Katriina Tavi, Tilda Kiianlehto, Paivi Akonpelto, Merja Larivaara, Robert Enckell, Heikki Sankari, Minna Suuronen, Antii Virmavirta.
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