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.