Sweet Thing

Directed by Alexandre Rockwell
Film Movement
2020
91 Minutes
USA
English
Coming of Age, Drama
Not Rated

SWEET THING centers around the lives of two children in contemporary New Bedford, Massachusetts in particular one eventful summer spent in a beach house with their mother and her boyfriend. The story is an intense but ultimately uplifting, poetic rendering of childhood that captures the essence of that time in life when a day can last forever. The friendships, loyalties, and challenges of adolescent youth propel the story into a triumph of childhood hope and resilience.

The central character, Billie, is a 15-year-old girl who fantasizes Billie Holiday as a sort of fairy godmother. Billie has to navigate the evolving challenges of her life while she plays mother to her 11-year-old brother, Nico. They meet up with another adolescent, run away from home, and together roam the area free from their parents’ watchful eye. They discover freedom and enchantment among New Bedford’s boats and railway tracks. They fantasize about a life of luxury when they break into a posh home, and are able to carry the taste of affluence into their adventures. The film celebrates their ability to make poetry and a joyful life out of hardship. The children come to represent a hope in our own resilience, as the film is an ode to that trying age when young people prepare to take their first step into adulthood.

Director & Cast

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Reviews

  • "A lively, bittersweet meditation on an impoverished childhood that is still rich in innocence and imagination.... With verve and vitality it pays a dreamy-eyed retrospective debt to films past, and largely due to the beguiling performance from Rockwell’s own daughter Lana, ultimately delivers a moving, tousled journey of discovery...."
    Jessica Kiang, Variety
  • "Sweet Thing one of the most powerful new films I’ve seen in a few years. The whole film has soul, but the fact it didn’t go the easy way and made it in b/w 16mm, made it a divine soul."
    Quentin Tarantino
  • "Rockwell’s film about specific heartbreaking circumstances is accessibly potent in its portrayal of childhood and memory. He taps into the experience of complex emotions – fear mixed with hope, love entangled with heartbreak, and childhood prematurely ripped away – in ways that exemplify the unique potential of cinema."
    Mary-Catherine Harvey, The Upcoming
  • "Gorgeous... stunningly rendered....this is a film that deserves to be seen. "
    Stephen Silver , Goomba Stomp