With a beautiful singing voice and named after Billie Holiday (Kelly Charpent) who she daydreams about, teenager Billie (Lana Rockwell) and her younger brother Nico (Nico Rockwell) spend their days scrounging up scrap metal in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Their father Adam (Will Patton) drinks away the paltry money he earns, while their mother Eve (Karyn Parsons) abandoned them to live with her boyfriend Beaux (ML Josepher) by the beach. When Eve takes them in for the summer, abusive Beaux forces them to run away with their new friend Malik (Jabari Watkins), where this band of outsiders find hope as self-proclaimed outlaws and renegades.
Iconoclast of the independent film movement of the 80s and 90s, director Alexandre Rockwell captures the nuances of adolescence, friendships, and the tough and sometimes strained relationships between parents and children. Reminiscent of the poetry in Jim Jarmusch, François Truffaut, and Jean-Luc Godard films and winner of the Crystal Bear award for Best Film at Berlin International Film Festival this year, Sweet Thing is Rockwell’s follow-up to his award-winning critically acclaimed Little Feet, executive produced by Sam Rockwell and Jennifer Beals. Directing his children Lana and Nico once again and with Lasse Tolbøll’s sublime black and white cinematography with scenes of color interspersed, Rockwell paints a contemporary yet timeless portrait of the resilience of a family living on the fringes of society.—Judd Taylor