Bittersweets is an hour-long cinematic drama set in Michigan, 1998. The film traces the disintegration of a friendship between two 17-year-olds from opposite sides of the proverbial track. Instead of the trope of class, the narrative highlights their individual stories, focusing in on the humanand therefore messyconditions that differentiate the two. Emily Tarver is an African-American teenager living with her widower father who resents caring for her in the wake of the loss of her mother. Victim of a tumultuous domestic life, fraught with persistent verbal abuse, Emily turns to music as a source of comfort. A proficient pianist, she composes original works and participates in an after-school music tutoring program. Tina Meirelles is the daughter of Afro-Brazilian immigrants. Surrounded by all the trappings of idealized domesticity, Tinas life appears quite perfect. Yet, she responds to all that she perceives as imperfection with self-mutilation. A gifted violinist, Tina tutors in the after-school program under the auspices of saving up enough money to buy a carher personalized means of perpetual escape. It is the tutoring program that unites Emily and Tinas experiences by serving as a source of refuge from the conditions of their lives. Both girls turn to the program as an avenue for retreat out of their homes, out of their heads, and into their music. Bittersweets examines whether their center of commonality boasts the power to withstand the ever-pressing influence of outside forcesmoney, boys, and time.