Little Sweetheart

Watch Little Sweetheart

  • R
  • 1989
  • 1 hr 32 min
  • 6.0  (369)

Little Sweetheart is a suspenseful and unsettling psychological thriller released in 1988 that explores the dark side of innocence and the unexpected consequences that arise when deceit, manipulation, and hidden agendas collide. Directed by Anthony Simmons, this British film is set in the picturesque but deceptively calm American countryside and delivers a riveting tale filled with tension and intrigue.

The narrative revolves around the complex and twisted relationships between three main characters. John Hurt plays Robert Burger, a hapless Englishman with a mysterious past who is on vacation in a peaceful American town seeking relief from his inner demons. Karen Young portrays Dorothea, a woman living with her husband in the same serene community and hiding her dissatisfaction with married life beneath a veneer of contentment. The catalyst for the story's suspenseful developments is nine-year-old Elizabeth, brilliantly brought to life by Cassie Barasch, who is quickly revealed to be anything but the typical, sweet little girl her physical appearance suggests. Elizabeth is a cunning and manipulative child with an eerie and disconcerting maturity, who goes by the nickname “Little Sweetheart.”

Elizabeth's outward appearance of innocence belies her true nature. Beneath her cherubic face and angelic smiles lies a calculating mind, adept at emotional blackmail and coercion. The story skillfully peels back the layers of Elizabeth’s character, highlighting her disturbing talents for deceit and the unsettling pleasure she seems to derive from orchestrating complex schemes that entangle the adults around her.

The film unfolds as Elizabeth becomes aware of a secret affair between Robert and Dorothea—both of whom are equally dissatisfied with their lives and seeking solace in each other's company. Recognizing an opportunity for manipulation, Elizabeth embarks on a twisted blackmail scheme. With an uncanny ability to identify and exploit the vulnerabilities of the adults, she intrudes into their lives, playing them against each other while pushing the boundaries of their ethics and morality.

As the situation spirals out of control, Robert and Dorothea are forced to confront the consequences of their choices and the realization that they are entwined in the web of a dangerous and precocious child who seems to possess a twisted sense of justice. Elizabeth’s actions threaten to dismantle the fragile facades they have built around their personal lives and send them spiraling towards a cliff-edge of peril.

Little Sweetheart masterfully builds its atmosphere through haunting cinematography, using the benign rural background to contrast the growing sense of unease that pervades the narrative. With sparse dialogue and extended periods of silence, the film relies heavily on nuanced performances and a brooding score composed by Francis Shaw to heighten the tension. Each scene is crafted to bear a sense of discomfort, which underscores the unpredictability of Elizabeth's next move and the secrets hidden beneath the surface of seemingly everyday interactions.

John Hurt delivers a nuanced performance as Robert, capturing a man torn between guilt, fear, and an increasing sense of entrapment. Karen Young matches Hurt's intensity with her portrayal of Dorothea, expertly conveying the internal conflict of a woman caught between her desires and the twisted game she has been unwillingly drawn into. However, it's Cassie Barasch’s portrayal of Elizabeth that stands as the heart of the film, evoking a haunting presence that both chills and fascinates, commanding the attention of the audience in every scene she inhabits.

The film raises relevant and disquieting questions about the nature of innocence and the extent to which appearances can deceive. It probes beneath the facade of childhood purity to suggest a world where even the youngest among us can possess the power to manipulate and control with a precocious and unsettling capability for malice. Little Sweetheart is a movie that challenges viewers to question their assumptions about human nature, morality, and the potent mix of vulnerability and danger that can lie hidden behind a child's eyes.

In its entirety, Little Sweetheart is a cinematic tale that weaves together psychological depth, dramatic tension, and an air of eeriness that lingers long after the credits roll. While it may not have achieved blockbuster status at the box office or become a widely recognized classic, the film has garnered a cult following for its unique exploration of themes and provocative narrative that dares to look into the abyss of the human soul through the lens of a seemingly innocent child.

Little Sweetheart is a 1989 thriller with a runtime of 1 hour and 32 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.0.

Little Sweetheart
Where to Watch Little Sweetheart
Little Sweetheart is available to watch, stream, download and on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels and FuboTV. Some platforms allow you to rent Little Sweetheart for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 32 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.0  (369)