Based solely on a tea leaf reading, superstitious and introspective Kay believes she and Louis are destined to fall in love with each other, he who she is able to convince of the same despite he just having gotten engaged to her co-worker, Cheryl. That destiny may change with the fortunes of what she sees as the next symbol of their relationship, a somewhat sickly elder tree Louis plants in their garden for their one year anniversary. Their relationship is placed under a strain with the arrival of Kay's formerly institutionalized sister Dawn - nicknamed Sweetie - and Sweetie's current boyfriend, Bob, who Sweetie believes will help her get into show business. Kay's pleas to her father Gordon to help get Sweetie out of her house go largely ignored, as he has never judged Sweetie, who he still sees as his performing loving little girl. Gordon is facing his own issues as Kay and Sweetie's mother, Flo, has just left him on a trial separation, their issues largely stemming from his ...Written by
This film is one of the best films ever written and shot about the effects of mental illness on the psycho-dynamics of a family. Shot with a strongly claustrophobic sense of misé-en-scene, the extended family of Louis, Mom, Dad, Kay and Sweetie always crowd and clutter the frame, unable to extricate themselves physically and emotionally from one another. Geneviève Lemon's performance of a mentally ill young women (Sweetie/Dawn) sends chills up the spine of anyone who has worked with those who suffer like this. Although it does contain some nudity and slight sexual content, the dramatic push of the film as a whole makes this an extremely moving film even for teenagers, especially for families who are coping with mental illness. Campion's writing and above all her directing soars in this profound and compelling film.
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