By Jill Brooke
It’s not a surprise that there are many items in Katie Holmes’ new movie, “Rare Objects” that have floral motifs.
“My mom is an avid gardener,” says Katie Holmes. “She taught us all to love flowers.”
At a party celebrating the film’s decor at New York City’s Newel Antiques- where many of the set decorations from the movie were chosen – Holmes was with her nephew Joe. He enthusiastically concurred how flowers were a part of their Ohio home life.
“Beanie (as Kathleen Holmes is known) always is in the garden,” Joe told me. In fact, his grandmother and Katie’s mom never had one favorite flower. However, she taught her family to appreciate nature and many different types of flowers, including roses, hydrangeas, and pillowy peonies.
In the middle of the party room was one of the antique vases used in the film, now filled with branches, orchids, and blooms designed by the talented Gerald Palumbo of the floral design studio Seasons.
One of the many lessons that gardening teaches is to be patient. Katie Holmes has learned that lesson well. Like the giant Himalayan lily, it took seven years for this project to fully bloom.
“Rare Objects,” Holmes’ third film where she is director, tells the story of a young woman played by Julia Mayorga traumatized by a sexual assault. Trying to figure her life out, she works at an antique store run by Alan Cumming.
As film critic Roger Friedman raves, “Katie not only directs but co-stars in the film. She digs deep to give and get authentic heartfelt performances exploring the ups and downs in dealing with emotional wounds.”
Holmes plays the young woman’s friend who is also struggling with mental scars.
The message here is that recovery is not quick, as most want it to be. In fact, it is often a long bumpy road to process sexual assault and reclaim normalcy and trust. It also shares how recovery is helped by understanding friends, professionals and peaceful surroundings.
Whether it is a flower or an object, focusing on objects that are crafted lovingly contributes to calm. After all, one of the few things we can control is our physical surroundings. It can also inspire people because flowers are a universal kiss to remind us that solace and beauty exist.
Holmes again chose Michael Fitzgerald to be the production designer of her movie. He collaborated with the talented set decorator Beth Kushnick to create an authentic New York City antique shop. Having been the set decorator for “The Good Wife,” she understood this genre well. “At Newel and John Koch Antiques, we were able to combine many periods and styles to create this environment,” she says, ranging from a mid-century dresser to an art deco desk.
In fact, it was Holmes who one day realized that a store she frequented was shuttered. She came up with the idea of renting the space and transforming it into an antique shop. Clever, right? Resourceful too.
Here are 8 floral-inspired items that you can find in the film. These images are from Newel Antiques. So be sure to see it in theaters and figure out what scene these beautiful – and rare – objects were placed in to illustrate the story.
Italian Venetian style (19th cent.) Grotto carved and polychromed double peacock design conversation seat
English Regency style (19th Cent) red lacquer and gilt. trimmed loveseat with cane upholstery and green embossed back panel.
Asian Burmese-style (19th Century) rosewood and pearl inlaid cabinet
Pair of Contemporary design large gilt metal wall sconces with five lights, a tree branch shape, and decorative hanging pieces of clear quartz
English Regency-style (19th Century) black iron and tole Chinoiserie designs full-size bed with figures and flowers
Italian 1950s Venetian Murano graduated coral pink. exterior and orange interior glass lantern with handkerchief form & gold dusted flower finial top and gilt metal canopy
Belgian style (20th Century) woven tapestry of a forest scene with a floral border.
English Victorian (Aesthetic Movement) stained and leaded glass window with bamboo and cherry blossom design with border in a wood frame.
Holmes adapted the movie from Kathleen Tessaro’s novel of the same name. Although the book was set in the Depression era, the themes are universal and even better set in this modern-day exploration.
Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD and a contributor to Florists Review magazine.
Photo Credit: Flowerpowerdaily and Newel Antiques, Newel Props