Welcome back you everyone. It is I, Doc Comeau and we are back for another movie review. Today we are reviewin Netflix's Sweet Girls. A movie currently in the Top 10 section of the streaming platform for the United States. A story about revenge, mental health and government corruption.
Authored by Doc Comeau on Sunday, August 26th, 2021 at 6:55 PM EST
All Photos from IMDb
Essentially, this is the story of an emotionally distraught husband talking justice in his own hands to get restitution for his wife's death while protecting his daughter at the same time. A daughter that is the only family he has left in the world. A task made difficult by some powerful and connected people.
Brian Andrew Mendoza
Sweet Girl was directed by Brian Andrew Mendoza. I myself have never heard of the director before, but I am familiar with some of his work. He is most famous for three projects starring the same star as this film so it would seem they regularly work together. He directed the television series Frontier that was about the time period of the East India Trading company and the frontier of North America, the Road to Palmoa passion project for star Jason Momoa and Braven a story about a Canadian logger trying to protect his family from drug smuggalers.
Most of you are familiar with Jason Momoa from his portrayal of Aquaman, but to me he will always be Ronon Dex from Stargate Atlantis. However, In this film he is Ray Cooper a devoted family man trying to achieve Justice for his wife's death and protect his daughter from the people who were indirectly responsible for his wife's death. A role that soon spirals out of control as he desperately attempt to avoid the FBI while pursuing vigilante justice.
His daughter Rachael Cooper is portrayed by Isabela Merced. This actress has come a long way from her role in the live action Dora the Explorer. Like her previous role her curiosity of trying to follow her dad on his journey of comic book justice is always getting putting her in danger causing her father to have to focus on keeping her safe rather than stopping the professional assassins that are trying to cover up the real reason why his wife was killed. A job she makes more difficult by her attempts the get him to stop and her communication with the FBI.
Rotten Tomatoes Scores
Rotten Tomatoes has Sweet Girl rated really poorly by the Critics. The movies "Critic Score" sit a measly "18%" out of "33 reviews." The audience on the other hand felt that is was a much better movie than that, but still rates it as a below average film. The "Audience Score" is "47%" out of "100 reviews." However, I fully expect this rating to go up as more people watch it. It is in the Top 10 Section of Netflix and this is only opening week of streaming.
Burdened with action clichés and tripped up by a late plot twist, Sweet Girl wastes a potentially resonant story and some solid work from its well-matched leads
Without further ado and not spoiling the film I will give you my review now. If you do not care about spoilers you can read what I thought about the film in each of the three main sections below. On my scale 1 is horrible and 10 is magnificent and I grade it by its story and screenplay, its dialogue and performances and its Cinematography. Based on this scale I would give Sweet Girl an 6 out of 10. It was an average action film, the performers were top notch, the story was interesting, but it was cliche and had some trouble in the opening sequences setting up the story.
Based on this scale I would give Sweet Girl an 6 out of 10. It was an average action film, the performers were top notch, the story was interesting, but it was cliche and had some trouble in the opening sequences setting up the story. - Doc Comeau
Story and Screenplay
Alright, you have been warned if you are still reading I will be spoiling the film. The film does one of those things where it opens with a snip of a scene with Ray up on a roof looking desperate and telling and off-screen law enforcement officer that things were not supposed to be the way they were before jumping off a high location in the water below. Then it jumps back to the true beginning of the film. I seriously hate these type of jumps in films and this deducted two points from this section and the last section of the review because it happened a few times in the first hour.
Here we see Ray and Racheal spending some quality time with Ray's wife. They are enjoying the outdoors with a hike out into the wilderness to go camping by a fire. Then a little monologue from Momoa transcends the story a few years into the future, marking the films second time jump and we see Ray and Racheal bringing Rachael's mother into the hospital where we learn she has is dying of cancer. This whole sequence is a series of scenes that shows the family living with the effects of long term cancer treatment linked by more monologues from Momoa. This establishes the characters struggles with the reality of their situation and the their ability to fight on the same level of professional assassins.
This sequence ultimately ends with their family doctor telling the family about a new treatment that shows real promise in curing the particular type of cancer Ray's wife is suffering from. A treatment that doesn't actually occur because a pharmaceutical company CEO paid to have it banned as it was a generic version of their more expensive medicine. This causes Ray to threaten the CEO on a live interview via the phone and his wife ends up not surviving.
From here Ray is contacted by a journalist trying to expose a conspiracy to have the drug pulled and wanted Ray to be a part of the story. After leading Ray on a wild goose chase to ensure he wasn't being followed, though he was by Rachael. He reluctantly agrees, before witnessing the journalist being murdered and ultimately fighting to protect his daughter before getting stabbed himself. Save only by the mere chance of being tossed from the subway train just before it carries the assassin away.
This is where the film does another time jump and brings us to Rachael fighting in the gym where she trained with her dad clearly suffering the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. From here you are given the first big clue to the film's ultimate plot twist. You never see Ray Cooper again with anyone, but his daughter. Anytime Rachael is on screen with a side character to she is alone and without her father.
The pair is chased by the FBI as Ray kills the people connected to the conspiracy that condemned his wife to death one by one. They start by confronting the CEO of the pharmaceutical company that paid to have the drug pulled. This was an accidental kill made in self defense as the CEO attempted to have the two of the killed.
They seek refuge in a motel and while Ray booby traps the place to warn against intruders, Rachael calls the FBI to try and tell them her dad killed the man in self defense. She says she can't stop him and he was not a bad man she just needed him. This is the second clue we receive that not everything is as it seems. Rachael struggles with staying in control of her life.
They get attacked here once again and a have to fight a fully trained operative in tactical gear in the motel. Ray manages to overcome and subdue the man who again gets fatally wounded in the struggle. Now in full on panic mode the two of them steal a tow truck and drive off into the night.
The original assassin returns and is confronted by Ray in a public location. After a small monologue by the assassin we understand that there is no stopping him from killing the pair. Though with a little persuasion he is convinced that if he tells them who is the mastermind they can fight out the final fight on a battlefield that has victory for each individual. Either the assassin kills them or they confront the mastermind. We learn Everything is orchestrated by a local Senator.
This section is getting rather long, so I will jump ahead. We are eventually brought back to the beginning scene, but we receive more context and learn that Ray died during the train fight and a mentally unstable Rachael has been doing everything on her own. She ultimately escapes the FBI confronts and kills the assassin and exposes the Senator before slipping away to live a life off the grid.
Ultimately, I was intrigued by the advertisement that it was the story of a man on a hunt for revenge while protecting his daughter and the twist was unexpected and cliche. The time jumps at the beginning while preparing your mind for the twist, pulled you away from the story and there were too many of them. This was an average film story at best and it deserves and average score. I would have to give this part of the film a 5 out 10.
This was an average film story at best and it deserves and average score. I would have to give this part of the film a 5 out 10. - Doc Comeau
Performances and Dialogue
Now this is where the film really stands out. Every member of the cast from the main stars to the supporting characters put on excellent performances. There was not one that felt out of place, off or that they didn't belong. Though the two main stars Isabela Merced and Jason Momoa take this to another level.
We will start by discussing the performance and dialogue of main star Jason Momoa. He gets the most screen time and really carries the film through all but the final thirty minutes or so. There was not a single moment when Momoa's emotional expression didn't match the dialogue and actions taken by his character. When he was in pain and anquish, you could truly see the pain and anger in his face and voice. It is of my opinion, this film wouldn't have worked with him.
At first I thought Isabela Merced performance was subpar and inferior to everyone else in the film. She always looked lost and confused throughout much of the film. However, when the twist at the end is revealed it was her character Rachael and not her dad the whole time it all made sense. She was supposed to be lost and confused. When the veil was lifted, she shown her acting prowess, but continuing the mission with a new found strength of purpose. She was truly the perfect choice to cast alongside Momoa.
Overall the dialogue and actor choice was the saving grace of the film. Without these two actors or people of equal caliber this movie would have been a less than average film. Its story was cliche and overtold and Sweet Girl made no attempt to reimagine the twist in its plot. The actors with a good plot could have made a masterpiece, and here they brought subpar up to average. I would give the performances and dialogue an 8 out of 10. Without them I may not have been able to finish the film.
"he actors with a good plot could have made a masterpiece, and here they brought subpar up to average. I would give the performances and dialogue an 8 out of 10. Without them I may not have been able to finish the film." - Doc Comeau
This is where the film was split. I like the choice of showing the characters deal with the sickness and death of the Matriarch of their family while giving the manager instead of just being a monologue, but it simply could have been a sequence of scenes without the monologue and carried the same essence. The choice to make time jumps prior to and after this was also detrimental to the film. They could have accomplished the same with more visual storytelling, even if it was a part of the Managua previously mention.
The choreography and action sequences, however were on point. They captured the intent of the film. Establish and enjoyable action packed experience for Netflix users. This truly saved the film, though the twist at the end was not needed. They simply could have told the story without the twist as advertised or even focused on Rachael the whole film. The attempt to hide it with time skips broke the immersion of the film. I would have to give this section a 4 out of 5. With today's technology and skill it could have been told without the flaws mentioned above.
"They simply could have told the story without the twist as advertised or even focused on Rachael the whole film. The attempt to hide it with time skips broke the immersion of the film. I would have to give this section a 4 out of 5. With today's technology and skill it could have been told without the flaws mentioned above." - Doc Comeau
This movie was saved by the actor chosen to play the film's main protagonists. Without them the movie's plot and cliche twist would have made this a less than average film. It's true what they say a good performance can elevate a bad story, but a bad performance will destroy a good one. Momoa in particular saved this film for me. Without him I wouldn't even recommend it to any of you. However, if you are looking for an average action film with a good actor, action and drama this is the movie for you.
1) Netflix. (2021). Sweet Girl. https://www.netflix.com/.
2) IMDb.com. (2021, August 20). Sweet Girl. IMDb. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10731768/?ref_=tt_mv_close.
Archived at; https://archive.ph/kRSzL
3) Sweet Girl (2021). Rotten Tomatoes. (n.d.). https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/sweet_girl
Archived at; https://archive.ph/YNJ4t