A well-intentioned low-budget take on teen life in Barcelona's underbelly, Jesus Mora's second feature, "My Sweetheart," starts out strongly enough but fades as the cliches and implausibilities kick in. Pic is more notable for its performances than its plot and pacing, which are the work of uncertain hands, making this small fest fare.

A well-intentioned low-budget take on teen life in Barcelona’s underbelly, Jesus Mora’s second feature, “My Sweetheart,” starts out strongly enough but fades as the cliches and implausibilities kick in. Featuring high-profile thesp Aitana Sanchez-Gijon, pic is more notable for its performances than its plot and pacing, which are the work of uncertain hands, making this small fest fare.

Angela (Sanchez-Gijon) is a young cop who trawls the poorer barrios with Fermin (ever-underrated Santiago Ramos). Angela’s younger sister, Laura (Barbara Goenaga), is a rabble-rouser, worshipped from afar by socially inadequate Oscar (Unax Ugalde). When Laura receives a mysterious letter from their long-absent mother, delivered to her Dutch drug dealer, Scratch (Mario Cocci), Laura decides to visit Holland on a mommy hunt. Pic is strongest on the social-realist side, as when dealing with drug problems and police corruption, but the plot is distinctly rickety, with too many teen drama cliches. Despite creating the odd powerful moment, Sanchez-Gijon struggles to make sense of Angela’s inner contradictions, but youngsters Goenaga and Ugalde hold up their side of the story rather better. Cheesy jazz-based soundtrack sounds all wrong, given the generally contempo feel.

My Sweetheart

Spain

Production

A Nirvana release of a Tusitala/Media Park production, in association with TVE, Via Digital. Executive producers, Luisa Matienzo, Gianni Ricci. Directed by Jesus Mora. Screenplay, Ivan Morales.

Crew

Camera (color), Federico Ribes; editor, Ivan Aledo; music, Alfonso Vilallonga; art director, Julio Torrecilla. Reviewed at Cine Princesa, Madrid, May 9, 2001. Original title: Mi dulce. Running time: 93 MIN.

With

Aitana Sanchez-Gijon, Barbara Goenaga, Santiago Ramos, Unax Ugalde, Arianna Puello, Mario Cocci.

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