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  • Gareth Crook

Sweet Thing (2020) - 9/10

Billie (Lana Rockwell) and Nico (Nico Rockwell), two kids with not a lot. They seem happy, resourceful. Despite their fathers good intentions, he’s coming up a little short in the parenting department. They fend for themselves. Billie as much a mother to Nico as a sister. It’s disarmingly real and wonderfully shot mostly in blank and white with beautiful lighting, the odd evocative splash of colour marking hopes and dreams of our young survivors. It’s both sweet and heartbreaking. Billie is the glue, both for the family and for the film. Rockwell is a natural. In fact that’s a perfect description for this, natural. Director Alexandre Rockwell (yes their dad) really has captured something raw and powerfully beautiful on the streets of Massachusetts. The soft monochrome makes a really inmate film feel even more so. The hardships the kids face laid bare. With a well meaning but drunk father and a useless absent mother with her piece of shit abusive boyfriend. It’s not easy to watch, all the adults are pretty awful. It’s amazing that Billie and Nico continue to shine, to find good in their world, to do more than survive. As if their world weren’t fractured enough, events conspire against them but remarkably, as bleak as things are on screen, this somehow seems to retain an innocence and hope as they run away, finding a momentary release. It has a truthful and satisfying conclusion, but be warned, there’s a sting in its tail. Fantastic though, really fantastic.



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