"It's probably more spiritual like this. I mean, the Dali Lama doesn't do it."
- Louis (Tom Lycos) to Kay (Karen Colston) as they discuss the lack of sex in their relationship
"Forget your mind. Sex and courage--that's what love is."
- Mrs. Schneller (Jean Hadgraft) to Kay
"She was just born! I didn't have anything to do with it!"
- Kay explaining her sister to Louis
Rolling Stone - 02/22/1990
"...Alive with hallucinatory imagery and perverse wit, SWEETIE signals the arrival of a major directing talent..."
New York Times - 10/06/1989
"...A spectacular feature-film debut....[SWEETIE is] a movie quite unlike any other you're likely to see until the next Campion comes along..."
New York Times - 12/30/1990
Included in the New York Times "10 Best Films of 1990"
Entertainment Weekly - 05/20/1994
"...A discomfiting cinematic universe somewhere between David Lynch and TV's SISTERS....Impressive..."
Premiere - 01/01/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "Campion creates a nuanced and emotionally profound work."
Jane Campion's (THE PIANO) first theatrical feature is a darkly comic look at one odd Australian family's dysfunction. The sexual problems of emotionally withdrawn Kay (Karen Colston) and her spiritual boyfriend, Louis (Tom Lycos), become exacerbated by the unexpected arrival of Kay's overweight, psychotic sister Dawn, aka Sweetie (Genevieve Lemon). Fresh out of the asylum, Sweetie has brought along her "manager," Bob (Michael Lake), a continually zonked-out swinger who nurtures her unrealistic fantasies of becoming a star. As the two completely opposite sisters fight and rampage through the horribly furnished house, their father arrives with his own troubles: their mom has left him to find herself in the outback, as cook for an eccentric band of jack-a-roos.
From a script by Campion and Gerard Lee, the film careens fearlessly into disturbing psychological territory, focusing in large part on the conflict between the animal and spiritual sides of human nature and on the dangers inherent in going too far in either direction. Cinematographer Sally Bongers gives the film a cockeyed, color-saturated, wide-angle look that makes the juxtaposition of cramped living space and desolate open landscapes all the more surreal. Inspired performances and a soundtrack of African spirituals help make this a rewarding, unnerving mix of zany comedy and Freudian psychosexual probing.
This bizarre exploration of human relationships centers on two very different sisters: Kay, guarded and repressed, and Sweetie, overweight and spontaneous. Their rivalry is utterly passionate, tinged with misunderstood family ties and a dire need for black nail polish.
Family Interaction |
Filmed in Sydney, Australia.
Campion and Gerard Lee won the 1989 Australian Film Award for Best Original Screenplay for SWEETIE.
The film won Best Foreign Feature at the American Independent Spirit Awards in 1990.