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quietearth [Celluloid 08.13.08] movie review drama

Year: 2008
Release date: Unknown
Director: Joe Lia
Writers: Joe Lia
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: quietearth
Rating: 4 out of 10

Joe Lia's Sweet Thing shines with that ideal of independent film I love so much, the personal photography and fresh talent, and while it is youthful and energetic it ultimately falls flat due to a terse and undeveloped script. That's not to say the direction wasn't good, but nothing will kill a film quicker then a lack of story. However, I did enjoy portions of it, the playful nature of early youth, the pursuit of love, and some of the great shots in the film like our two main characters running around an artistic concrete labyrinth, so I can say I think director Joe Lia has some talent, but might do better to work with someone else's material.

The story revolves around two girls, Jody who is an aimless hippie who enjoys her share of drugs, and Liz who works in a coffee stand and seems to be going a bit boy crazy. Liz is pursuing love and boldly introduces herself to a graffiti artist. This portion of the story was rather enjoyable, Liz making all the first moves until they end up in bed together. There's some dreamily shot sequences here capturing their elation, but this storyline was short lived.

Jody is off college for the summer and heads back home to live with her parents who are very critical. She works as an intern in her father's office, and surprisingly enough they use plenty of footage of him even though he can't act. There's a big void in between parents and child on this one which is painfully obvious as part of the setup for her drug use. The Mother is castrating in her admonitions, especially when Jody quits her job, buys a lime green jeep, and sets off to sell ice cream to neighborhood kids. This is the setup for how our two characters meet.

Unfortunately when our two main players meet, the interaction is so brief you could blink and miss it. Worse still, it follows along the lines of how some women seem to meet simply by saying "Oh, I love your hair!" and snap! They're best friends. Liz and Jody's meeting is marketed as the major part of the storyline, so this terse introduction and short follow through was quite disappointing. I'd go on and tell you more but I don't want to ruin it.

With the bad parts in the film, like some editing problems which caused jarring time jumps in the story came some good things. While Liz is handing coffee to a customer, the camera shoots to a closeup of a hardhat inside the customers truck which is a melodramatic reminder of a moment with Liz's boyfriend who has flown home to his family's for the summer. This subtle imagery was quite profound and part of the reason why I say the director Joe Lia is talented.

Sweet Thing had it's world premier at the past Seattle International Film Festival, and while I definitely love this type of film I can't recommend it in it's current state. At the minimum, I think it needs some re-editing to expound upon the story and lengthen the entire thing, that way it won't feel like someone put it in a trash compactor and hit the compact button a few times. On a side note, Liz was played by Jennipher Foster who's acting (and looks) I thoroughly enjoyed.

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pat (13 years ago) Reply

joe is my very talented and will go straight to the top with his abilities to see a story and put it in a vision, he will give society a voice and bring it to life in his movies. I just hope you all see in him and his movies what i see.


Rebecca A (12 years ago) Reply

I agree with this review a thousand percent. I just saw the film and LOVED the actresses playing Liz and Jodi. I just wish the material was better executed. Beautiful shots of WA- and I loved watching the performances. I just wish more happened.

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