Standout perfs by Bernadette Peters as an aging diva and Rachel Brosnahan as her solicitous 15-year-old daughter are the only reasons to see Lisa Albright’s “Coming Up Roses,” a tired ’80s-set meller hobbled by lackluster helming and an unconvincing script. While the fearsome co-dependency at the film’s core registers strongly, thanks to the female leads, the film’s more sensationalistic aspects — lesbianism, incest, drug dealing — are cavalierly tossed in with little buildup, stretching pathos to ever-lessening effect. Opened in limited release Nov. 9, “Coming” is going nowhere.
Alice (Brosnahan), still dazzled by childhood memories of the theatrical brilliance of her mom, Diane (Peters), now struggles to support the unstable, bipolar woman, whose grasp of reality is subjective at best. The two have moved to a dicey neighborhood in Nashua, N.H., to be close to Alice’s sister, but sympathy and gainful employment are in short supply. When Mom’s suitor/would-be savior (Peter Friedkin, creepily benevolent) turns out to be a perv, Alice reluctantly taps the criminal connections of a gamine-like neighbor (a scene-stealing Reyna de Courcy) to avoid eviction, teetering on the edge of the downward spiral that already claimed Diane.