Jason Momoa hasn’t been the starring guy in the big picture in a long time. Apart from Zack Snyder’s Justice League, his most recent feature film as a solo leading actor was DC’s ‘Aquaman,’ which he starred in 2018. So we understand the level of anticipation his fans have for the Netflix film ‘Sweet Girl’.
Momoa plays Ray Cooper, a grieving husband who pledges to take revenge on those guilty for his wife’s death while safeguarding the one family he has left, his daughter Rachel (Isabela Merced). The film’s premise does not appear to be compelling at first glance since we have seen similar films in the past where a father does impossible things to avenge his loved one’s death and protect the person closest to them. That does not, however, imply that “Sweet Girl” is grim.
The film opens with Cooper standing at the top of the baseball stadium, surrounded by FBI agents pleading with him to surrender. When one of the policemen adds, “I’m here to help,” he looks at her and says, “It wasn’t intended to be like this,” before leaping from the roof. The beginning sequence brilliantly sets the tone and gets you curious about why he did what he did. In flashbacks, we see Ray, his wife Amanda (Adria Arjona), and their daughter Rachel living a beautiful life.
Everything, however, is turned upside down when Amanda is diagnosed with cancer, and her condition is rapidly deteriorating. Ray learns from one of the doctors that a pharmaceutical company called BioPrime is developing a medicine called “Sepro” that will aid Amanda’s recuperation and extend her life expectancy. However, because of the government and pharmaceutical company’s monopolies, Simon Keeley (Justin Bartha), the CEO of BioPrime, halts the distribution of the treatment, putting everyone at risk. Amanda dies a few days later while in her daughter’s arms, and Ray is distraught.
The entire sequence of Momoa racing through the hospital and finding a quiet space to grieve and release his feelings exemplifies what the ‘Game of Thrones star is capable of. His emotions are as deep as they would be for an average man who has recently lost his loving wife.
Ray threatened Simon on live television before she died that if his wife died due to the situation mentioned earlier, he would track him down and murder him. Ray is grappling when it comes to understanding Amanda’s death six months later. As soon as he returns home, he receives a call from a reporter working on a story on Keeley and the government that will expose their misdeeds. On a train, he encounters a man named Martin Bennett (Nelson Franklin), and just as he’s about to tell him something vital, an unknown man in a black dress appears out of nowhere and murders Martin right in front of Ray.
Amos Santos (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) has been recruited to kill anyone who knows what happened between Keeley and the government, as shown in a dramatic combat scenario onboard the train. Rachel also follows her father and watches him fight Amos, as any interested young woman might. Santos eventually escapes by pushing Ray from the train and stabbing him with a knife.
The best thing about the movie is the father-daughter relationship between Ray and Rachel. Despite the death of his wife, Ray tries everything to keep his daughter happy. But he never forgot what happened with his wife and always wanted to bring her to justice by punishing people who killed her.
Diana Morgan, a Congresswoman from Pittsburgh who is attempting to become a Senator, is one of the most prominent characters in the film. She is portrayed as a commoner’s messiah who assists them in obtaining low-cost medical care. However, she joins BioPrime and forms a deal with them in the later section of the film. Her character will leave you speculating what side she is on.
There comes a time in Ray’s search for the perpetrators when politics enters the picture, and for a brief minute, it appears as if “‘Sweet Girl'” will take that turn and become a political drama. It doesn’t, thankfully. The film’s director, Brian Andrew Mendoza, does an excellent job of focusing on our protagonist and avoiding political commentary about money-hungry pharmaceutical companies, their pursuit of profits, and how our politicians are helping them earn a shitload of money. At the same time, ordinary people wait for universal healthcare.
Momoa is by far the greatest part of the film and delivers an outstanding performance in terms of acting. His acting chops manages to keep you captivated by your screens the entire time. Many people predicted that Momoa would become an action star when he first began his career, but he would have to prove himself as an actor who could portray his emotions on screen. ‘Sweet Girl’ demonstrates how he has matured as an actor and how he can steal your heart with his raw talent.
Merced has also performed brilliantly in the film. Ellie’s emotional grief is authentically sold throughout the movie by the actor, who is naturally sympathetic. She is absolutely an actress to keep an eye on. There is also a significant twist in the film involving her character, so keep an eye out for that.
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, who plays Santos, is equally excellent.
‘Sweet Girl’ isn’t perfect and has flaws of its own. And because the narrative has been told before, some people may think they’ve seen something similar before. However, fans will sit through the film thanks to Momoa’s captivating acting and fantastic action sequences. Despite its weaknesses, the film maintains your interest by keeping you guessing as to what will happen next or how Ray will carry out his plan despite getting beaten up by the bad guy.
“Sweet Girl” is a good attempt at crafting an action film full of emotions and keeps the audience engaged. The chemistry between Momoa and Merced as a father-daughter duo is delightful to see, and they have carried the film on their shoulders. The film is an excellent addition to the genre, but it is far from a tour de force.
‘Sweet Girl’ is currently available to watch on Netflix.