For the outspoken and awkward teen AJ (Nell Barlow, giving a droll, witty breakout performance), going on a family holiday spells disaster. With her mother Tina (Jo Hartley) constantly nudging her towards more feminine outfits and corny family activities, AJ isn’t even provided the escape of good Wi-Fi. The boredom and restriction are broken when AJ meets Isla (Ella-Rae Smith), a lifeguard at the vacation spot who could offer solace from the constraints of normalcy. The hope of a summer romance begins to break AJ free of the heteronormative expectations of her mother, and as AJ gets closer to Isla, she tiptoes towards liberation and self-conviction—with all the stumbling blocks of young adulthood awaiting her.
Fresh with new perspective and buoyant humanity, Sweetheart marks the feature writing and directing debut of Marley Morrison. In the tradition of such queer teen classics as EDGE OF SEVENTEEN and BEAUTIFUL THING, the film delivers a heartwarming queer coming-of-age story for a whole new generation. — CHRIS FEIL