Sweet Thing (2020) [Feature]

USA (MIFF 2020 )
Director: Alexandre Rockwell

This shaggy, sparkling tale about two lost siblings won the Generation Kplus Crystal Bear at the 2020 Berlinale.

Indie auteur Alexandre Rockwell (Louis and Frank, MIFF 1998) specialises in beautifully wrought character studies that transcend nostalgia to feel timeless. In this dreamy coming-of-age drama, filmed in luminous black-and-white, he directs his own kids along with their real-life mother, Karyn Parsons. Caught between a volatile, alcoholic dad and a neglectful mum, Billie and Nico run away with a rebellious orphan pal – but their Huckleberry Finn adventure can’t last. Eventually, tragedy will bring them home.

As well as a story about the search for family, this film is a reflection on memory and imagination – fizzing into colour whenever Billie recalls happier times or seeks guidance from her namesake, Billie Holiday. Sweet Thing unfurls in a kind of analog Americana: a feral, almost magical world that kids are left to find their way through by themselves.

“Heartfelt [and] hopeful … A lively, bittersweet meditation on an impoverished childhood that is still rich in innocence and imagination.” – VarietyThis shaggy, sparkling tale about two lost siblings won the Generation Kplus Crystal Bear at the 2020 Berlinale.

Indie auteur Alexandre Rockwell (Louis and Frank, MIFF 1998) specialises in beautifully wrought character studies that transcend nostalgia to feel timeless. In this dreamy coming-of-age drama, filmed in luminous black-and-white, he directs his own kids along with their real-life mother, Karyn Parsons. Caught between a volatile, alcoholic dad and a neglectful mum, Billie and Nico run away with a rebellious orphan pal – but their Huckleberry Finn adventure can’t last. Eventually, tragedy will bring them home.

As well as a story about the search for family, this film is a reflection on memory and imagination – fizzing into colour whenever Billie recalls happier times or seeks guidance from her namesake, Billie Holiday. Sweet Thing unfurls in a kind of analog Americana: a feral, almost magical world that kids are left to find their way through by themselves.

“Heartfelt [and] hopeful … A lively, bittersweet meditation on an impoverished childhood that is still rich in innocence and imagination.” – VarietyThis shaggy, sparkling tale about two lost siblings won the Generation Kplus Crystal Bear at the 2020 Berlinale.

Indie auteur Alexandre Rockwell (Louis and Frank, MIFF 1998) specialises in beautifully wrought character studies that transcend nostalgia to feel timeless. In this dreamy coming-of-age drama, filmed in luminous black-and-white, he directs his own kids along with their real-life mother, Karyn Parsons. Caught between a volatile, alcoholic dad and a neglectful mum, Billie and Nico run away with a rebellious orphan pal – but their Huckleberry Finn adventure can’t last. Eventually, tragedy will bring them home.

As well as a story about the search for family, this film is a reflection on memory and imagination – fizzing into colour whenever Billie recalls happier times or seeks guidance from her namesake, Billie Holiday. Sweet Thing unfurls in a kind of analog Americana: a feral, almost magical world that kids are left to find their way through by themselves.

“Heartfelt [and] hopeful … A lively, bittersweet meditation on an impoverished childhood that is still rich in innocence and imagination.” – Variety

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