Childhood can be a magical time. Full of new and exciting experiences. Opportunities to discover and grow. A chance to make new friends and explore the world around you. However, growing up can be extremely challenging is you have an unhappy home environment. Divorce and separation can take a huge toll on young minds, but addiction and abuse has destroyed countless lives. In Sweet Thing, two siblings take matters into their own hands.
After their parents’ acrimonious separation, 15-year-old Billie (Lana Rockwell) and her younger brother Nico (Nico Rockwell) live with their alcoholic father (Will Patton). Despite loving his kids, addiction makes him erratic and they largely don’t bother with school. Instead, they spend their days looking for ways to make money. After he’s arrested, they go and live with their mother (Karyn Parsons) and her obnoxious boyfriend Beaux (ML Josepher).
Sweet Thing is a vibrant portrait of addiction and youth. Alexandre Rockwell, who made his name in the ‘90s arthouse scene, tackles difficult subjects through the eyes of his young protagonists. Shot in rich monochrome, with occasional splashes of colour, it meshes a DIY feel with a sprinkle of fairy dust. Notwithstanding their unenviable situation, the exuberance of childhood is captured beautifully through Lasse Ulvedal Tolbøll’s lens. Sweet Thing takes a number of familiar elements and makes something rather special.
Sweet Thing is released digitally and in UK cinemas on 10 September.