Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: A devastated husband vows to bring justice to the people responsible for his wife’s death while protecting the only family he has left, his daughter.
Review: What wouldn’t you do for the ones you love? That’s the question asked in this Taken-esque tale of grief and revenge. The first thing that struck home for me was this wasn’t your usual Jason Momoa-starring vehicle. His name has become synonymous with the words “big” and “badass” and loveable too, and while the last still stands this is not that JM. Here we have an ordinary man known as Ray who has two things he loves in this world: his daughter Rachel (Isabel Merced) and his wife Amanda (Adria Arjona). His wife gets cancer and he sacrifices everything to pay for her treatments, only to have “Big Pharma” pull an affordable working treatment off the shelves so that they can sell a more expensive one, leading to the inevitable outcome and setting a path for Ray and Rachel that there’s no coming back from.
On the surface, Sweet Girl is nothing new. It’s a tale of grief and the kind of loss that would break most anyone. We’ve seen it done a thousand times before, but what makes these types of movies resonate (again, Taken is a great example) is the performances. And the actors here, especially Isabela Merced (Dora the Explorer) and Jason Momoa made me care 100 per cent about what they were going through. Momoa especially, as it’s so rare to see him play these vulnerable types of characters. He’s not a superhero; he’s just a man. And that scene in the hospital after he lost his wife had me reaching for the tissues. His relationship with daughter Rachel also rung true and you could tell this man was tapping into some real deep places to bring his character of Ray to life. Same goes for Isabela. When the big twist is revealed (I honestly didn’t see it coming) it makes you look at her in a whole different light. And props to this young actress for selling me on a plot twist that probably doesn’t work if you dig too deep but as simple movie entertainment, I totally buy.
The rest is by-the-book thrills and the final act suffers from sacrificing the deeper emotional questions brought to light for generic action beats. I think the biggest problem with this movie is it doesn’t know if it wants to be a classic revenge action flick or a drama that takes a deeper look into what such loss can do to a person.
Still, the performances are what keeps you rooted to your seat. And in the end the actors, even the ones who didn’t get the screen time they deserved, like Manuel Garcia Rulfo (The Magnificent Seven, Sicario 2) who plays a deadly hitman hired to silence Ray and Rachel, or Adria Ariona (6 Underground, Good Omens) who’s only on-screen for a few minutes but manages to make an impact.
The actors here make Sweet Girl worthy of your time. Just don’t go in expecting Aquaman meets Taken and you’ll be fine.
Sommer’s Score: 5.5 out of 10
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Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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