Stanford Mail

A New Take on the Coming of Age Genre



Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 43m
Director(s): Marley Morrison
Writer(s): Marley Morrison
Cast: Nell Barlow, Jo Hartley, Ella-Rae Smith, Sophia Di Martino, Samuel Anderson, Tabitha Byron, Steffan Cennydd
Where To Watch: Premieres on VOD & digital February 10, 2023

RAVING REVIEW: The coming-of-age genre has been explored in numerous ways throughout the history of cinema. However, few films look at the complexities of self-discovery and the trials of adolescence with the same skill and artistry as SWEETHEART. Directed by the talented Marley Morrison, this film sets itself apart with its bold and nuanced approach to the story of a young woman's journey of identity.

From its stunning cinematography, which brings to life the essence of a quintessentially British holiday, to its standout performances, particularly that of Nell Barlow in the lead role, SWEETHEART is a visual and emotional triumph. Morrison's mastery of the craft shines through as she delves into themes of anger, impulsiveness, longing, and acceptance, capturing the raw and relatable experience of growing up.

SWEETHEART is a sentimental journey that reminds us of the awkward but joyous moments of youth, with a realism that is both authentic and captivating. The film follows the protagonist as she joins her family on a summer vacation, where she meets someone who challenges everything she knows and sets the stage for a touching coming-of-age tale. It is a true gem of a film, a poignant and accurate portrayal of the triumphs and struggles of queer youth, and a must-see for anyone seeking a deeper look into the complexities of adolescence and self-discovery.

Marley Morrison brings a wealth of experience to the table, having garnered recognition and awards for her work in music videos, commercials, and television. Her short films LEROY and BABY GRAVY received multiple festival nominations.

Morrison's motivation for telling this story stems from her battles with gender identity and sexuality and her desire to shed light on these struggles' impact on the psyche. With SWEETHEART, Morrison hopes to uplift and bring joy through a film full of color, humor, youthful energy, and heart while providing visibility to those who don't fit into society's expectations and allowing lesbian perspectives to take center stage.

This film is a shining example of the transformative power of cinema and a testament to the timeless appeal of the coming-of-age genre.

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[photo courtesy of FILM MOVEMENT]