"A lively, bittersweet meditation on an impoverished childhood that is still rich in innocence and imagination.... With verve and vitality it pays a dreamy-eyed retrospective debt to films past, and largely due to the beguiling performance from Rockwell’s own daughter Lana, ultimately delivers a moving, tousled journey of discovery...."
"Alexandre Rockwell’s Sweet Thing is one of the most powerful new films I’ve seen in years. The whole film has soul, but the fact that Rockwell didn’t go the easy way and shoot it on digital, but instead (like a real filmmaker) shot it on black and white 16mm film makes it a divine soul. But it’s the performance of his young leading lady Lana Rockwell that haunts you when the movie is over. Like the way she carries her dignity in her shoulders as she precariously maneuvers herself through the grueling tribulations that is her life, is how she carries both the film and the viewer through Rockwell’s terrain."
"Achingly lovely.... Shot on stunning, super-high-contrast 16 mm black-and-white, with occasional color inserts matching the faded hues of memory.... At the calm center of it all is Lana Rockwell’s star-making performance as Billie. She’s got one of those faces the camera adores, with watchful eyes and an explosion of untamed curls atop her head stealing scenes from even the film’s veteran performers."
"What makes this simple story special is the style that the writer and director Alexandre Rockwell brings to the screen. Rockwell intentionally reminds his audience of the rich history of American independent cinema, where filmmakers across decades have built dreamscapes out of the textures of everyday interactions."
"Shot in striking 16mm black-and-white, the coming-of-age film—Rockwell’s first feature since 2013—is an intimate story about childhood, connection, freedom, and the stories we tell ourselves to survive. Rockwell’s film is utterly gorgeous... Surely one of the most caring, tender films of the last year...."
"A soulful, uplifting, but also heartbreaking look at race and poverty's impact on troubled childhood, Alexandre Rockwell's "Sweet Thing" is a welcome return to form for the accomplished indie filmmaker. "
"Rockwell’s film about specific heartbreaking circumstances is accessibly potent in its portrayal of childhood and memory. He taps into the experience of complex emotions – fear mixed with hope, love entangled with heartbreak, and childhood prematurely ripped away – in ways that exemplify the unique potential of cinema."
"Gorgeous... stunningly rendered....this is a film that deserves to be seen. "
"[T]he black-and-white camerawork ... captivates with visual lyricism and nimble flow. These kids are always on the move, and the film’s best moments also are its most elemental: the physical beauty and emotional grace of its stars, bustling through grungy streets and lakeside idylls, crimes and misdemeanors, heartbreaks and soul-shouts, with the kinetic clip of a nouvelle vague flashback. Drama is generated by the great Will Patton, as an alcoholic dad whose ultimately kind heart can’t dispel his demons, and Karyn Parsons (Rockwell’s wife) as the kids’ mother...."
"Not since The Florida Project have I felt this emotional about a story of children forced to grow up way too fast. Stylistically, writer/director Rockwell shot on 16mm black and white film for a gritty, raw, and dark feel. It enhances the story beyond measure. Lana Rockwell shines and carries the story’s dramatic narrative. We have a star in the making here. I hope this review serves as a call to go out of one’s way and find your way to see Sweet Thing any way you can."
"Shot with a poetic glow that easily conjures up the timeless feel of European classics...."
"The use of black&white film--juxtaposed with color for some dream sequences (Lasse Tolbøll, cinematographer)--recalls Roma and other masterfully filmed stories."
Crystal Bear Generation Kplus - Best Film
Berlin Int'l. Film Festival
People's Choice Award
Pingyao Int'l. Film Festival
College Jury Prize
Quebec City Int'l. Film Festival
John Cassavetes Award
Independent Spirit Awards
Valladolid Int'l. Film Festival
Tribeca Film Festival
Mill Valley Film Festival
Tokyo Int'l. Film Festival