Alexandre Rockwell is an unrelated dysfunctional family drama that gets great performances from his actor’s family.

Joyce Glasser Review Sweet stuff (September 10, 2021) Certificate 15, 91 minutes.

In his latest movie Sweet stuff, Alexandre Rockwell revives Will Patton from his acclaimed 1992 breakthrough feature, In the soup And bring back his two kids (Lana and Nico Rockwell) from his fascinating 2013 coming-of-age road movie. Little feat..Will come back again Little feat A monochrome 16mm film to capture a road movie that heralds another era in a whimsical fake French new wave Little featLana Rockwell, now 15 years old, and Nico, now 11 years old, play a loving but irresponsible alcoholic father and poor children living a virtually parentless life. The situation is different ( Little feat The father’s death makes him sad and helpless), and his condition again triggers the children’s departure on an innocent journey.

The main performance is great, but perhaps the components that worked in Rockwell’s two best movies lack immediacy and insight here. It’s as if Rockwell is looking for ingredients for outdated recipes.

Billie (Lana) has a lovely voice and is proud to be named after Billie Holiday. Holidays become her kind of role model, and when Billy fantasizes about a famous singer, monochrome turns into a bright color that shines like a footlight.

She lives with her brother and father in a fragile house that looks like a modern Bedford in Massachusetts, but strangely, she doesn’t have a computer or smartphone. Even without friends, there seems to be no interaction with the modern world beyond a claustrophobic naked home. And if this dad (Patton) has custody of the children, without social welfare, wait until you see your mom.

Like many dysfunctional families, we see in movies (recently Minari When nest), The older sister played the younger brother’s mother and grew up before her time. When Adam gets drunk and goes home, Billy takes care of his father.

Dad, or Adam, who works seasonally as Santa Claus (another bad Santa), clearly loves his children, but he loves his liquor more. Instead of revolving their lives around their needs, children respond to Adam’s mood changes with tenter hooks. Adam was grateful when he surprised Billy with a toy guitar stolen at Christmas, but a few hours later he broke it with drunken spats.

When Adam went too far, he was put into rehab and the children were ironically named Eve with a estranged mother (Karin Parsons, their true mother, Rockwell’s wife). Will live in. But Adam isn’t the only man on this eve. Eve lives a high life with another alcoholic Volks (ML Josepher). Volks has more money than beach houses and Adam, but he’s not Eve’s other drinking partner. He was a barbarian, a wife beater, and Nico was found to be a pedophile.

If this ectenia of childhood misery was distributed throughout the absorption plot, it might be easier to digest, but Rockwell continues to stack it up. When Billy met a sea urchin on a witty street named Malik (newcomer Javalitkins) on the beach near Volks’ house, his dysfunctional family story, as well as Billy’s story, they said. Narrated at night in the invading mansion, making it doubly difficult to react emotionally.

The structure is episodic, with purple passages montage and set in music. American Honey (Will Patton plays the backseat cowboy), but Sweet stuff It lacks the energy, urgency, and depth of its character. Just as Rockwell begins to feel calm about the lack of drive in this story, Rockwell presents the real moments of the drama. Malik intervenes to save Billy from Volks, and the children run away.

Their goal is to reach Malik’s father in Florida, but not to Ratso and Joe Buck. Midnight carboy.. After doing their own adventures, playing in the ocean, dressing up in the mansion while there is no owner, and finally having fun like kids, they’re just a caravan park in the ocean in Massachusetts. ..

Here, the movie peaks on a cold turn when an older couple offers a casserole of the famous young tuna (a little more nostalgic) and a safe sleeping place where grandma reaches out to three little red riding hoods. To reach.Rockwell knows people who remember his movie (identifying the theme song that plays throughout the movie) and Hitchcock The 39 Steps You might recall the scene where a fleeing Richard Hannay Scottish host calls while sleeping.

Lasse Ulvedal Tolbøll’s predominantly black-and-white shoots contribute to the cinematic atmosphere with built-in underwater sequences and magical fireworks displays that evoke a refreshing July night in New England. Lana Rockwell is becoming a seasoned actress, but sadly there is an inadequate match between her and skateboarder Rockwell, drawn from ambiguity to play the bohemian Malik. I have. If Paxton is great and his role is weak but ultimately repentant and limited to portraying alcoholism, he does so convincingly.

Billy’s half narration isn’t a problem until we finally hear that human nature is more elastic than anyone imagined, without a sense of skepticism. Rockwell sprinkles fairy dust on everyone to give the movie an unlikely happy ending. You have to believe Lana’s words. But when adults eventually embark on a self-discovery journey to improve their children’s lives, the children who are the main characters in the movie do not appear at the end as they did at the beginning.

Joyce Grasser, a mature Times film critic.

Alexandre Rockwell is an unrelated dysfunctional family drama that gets great performances from his actor’s family.

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