An introspective young woman's life is upturned by the arrival of her maladjusted sister.

Director:

Jane Campion

Writers:

Gerard Lee (screenplay), Jane Campion (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
3 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Geneviève Lemon Geneviève Lemon ... Dawn 'Sweetie'
Karen Colston ... Kay
Tom Lycos Tom Lycos ... Louis
Jon Darling Jon Darling ... Gordon
Dorothy Barry Dorothy Barry ... Flo
Michael Lake Michael Lake ... Bob
Andre Pataczek Andre Pataczek ... Clayton
Jean Hadgraft Jean Hadgraft ... Mrs. Schneller
Paul Livingston Paul Livingston ... Teddy Schneller
Louise Fox Louise Fox ... Cheryl
Ann Merchant Ann Merchant ... Paula
Robyn Frank Robyn Frank ... Ruth (as Robin Frank)
Bronwyn Morgan Bronwyn Morgan ... Sue
Sean Fennell Sean Fennell ... Boy Clerk
Sean Callinan Sean Callinan ... Simboo
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Storyline

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 Huggo

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jane Campion's directorial film debut. See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits first list Jane Campion as director and then there is a note 'For my sister'. See more »

Connections

Featured in Century of Cinema: 40,000 years of dreaming (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

On the Right Road
Composed by Tony Backhouse
Performed by the Café of the Gate of Salvation Choir (solo: Alice Papademetriou)
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User Reviews

 
hilarious and unusual
29 March 1999 | by Katy-13See all my reviews

This is one of the most hilarious movies I have ever seen that deals with such dark issues. It focuses on two sisters, Dawn a.k.a. " Sweetie" and Kay, who both (as we see it) struggle with their psychological health. Kay seems somewhat conscious of, but at the same time unwilling to express her psychological problems. This seems to manifest itself in her sexual problems with Louis. Dawn, on the other hand, seems completely oblivious to the fact that she has problems, and seems to live her life freely and spontaneously. We see the interaction between these characters as a struggle between stifling repression and an out-of-control, externally-destructive unleashing of feelings. The film seems to reconcile these aspects until we reach some sort of balance at the end.

While the film deals with these serious subjects, it is in no way (as far as I'm concerned) a depressing movie. It's filled with comedy, which has been called "black comedy", but in my view the comedy itself doesn't have any heavy, negative under tones. The actress who plays Sweetie is an established comedian and her comedic acting is hilarious and convincing. Sweetie freely expresses herself, in ways that might seem childish to some, but are secretly ways we might like to act if it were accepted. Her character tells us that it's possibly to be so free and unfettered and survive, up to a point.

I love the scene where Sweetie's new, wasted "talent manager" boyfriend is taken to a cafe, by Sweetie's father, in order to get rid of him. At the table Sweetie's father begins to talk about how Sweetie "was such a talented little girl". The boyfriend then spontaneously falls asleep (he has some kind of sleeping sickness). At this point the father tries to remove the boyfriend's coat, which is actually Louis's (Kay's husband), and which they have been trying to get him out of for a long time. The boyfriend, still asleep, then falls to the floor dragging the contents of the table top with him, and ends splayed out on the floor in a baroque mess.

There are numerous comedic scenes like the one above, that weave in and out of the movies' main issues (i.e. control of oneself). Dawn's boyfriend, like Dawn (Sweetie), lacks control over his expression, in this case his actual, physical body.

To add to these delights, the movie is beautifully, artfully photographed and the sets are also artistically satisfying. The soundtrack includes beautiful African gospel. All-in-all, if you're receptive to emotions and understanding them, this will probably be one of the best movies you'll ever see.


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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 September 1989 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Sweetie See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,403, 21 January 1990

Gross USA:

$938,065

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$938,562
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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