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The Independent Critic

Caitlin Kinnunen, Bill Sage, Joseph Montes
William J. Saunders
James Windeler, William J. Saunders
81 Mins.
Filmworks Entertainment
Deleted Scenes; Audio Commentary; Blooper Reel; Trailer; Photo Gallery

 "Sweet Little Lies" Review 
Winner of the Audience Award and Industry Award at the Dances With FilmsFestival this past year along with several other kudos along the route of its year-long festival run, Sweet Little Lies is a unique, funny and occasionally quite marvelous coming of age film centered around trailer park teen Bess (Caitlin Kinnunen), her 9-year-old friend Waldo (Joseph Montes) and the career grifter they encounter while on their way from Kansas to Las Vegas in a desperate search for Bess' father, a man she's never known.

The film has been picked up by the folks at FilmWorks Entertainment for a DVD/Home Video release with some mighty fine packaging that once again for Filmworks transcends what one usually finds for the lower budgeted films. The film also picked up quite a few kudos at the Feel Good Film Festival, Kansas City Film Festival (where it sold out two screenings) and the Big Island Film Festival.

Working with a group of his peers from Columbia University's film program, Saunders has constructed an entertaining and thought-provoking film that really flies largely on the strength of both Caitlin Kinnunen, who is simply terrific as the young Bess, and Bill Sage, a major casting coup with credits in such projects as Trust, Flirt, Simple Men, American Psycho, High Art, I Shot Andy Warhol and several television projects. Sage and Kinnunen display an awesome chemistry that works wonders for the film, and director Saunders really brings the whole project to life with spot-on pacing, bits of animation that work quite nicely and the excellent script by James Windeler based upon a story created by both Windeler and Saunders.

The film's underpinning may very well prove to be in the performance of Joseph Montes, whose role at first seems almost inconsequential as Bess proves to be Waldo's protector on multiple levels. Yet, watch this character carefully throughout the film and you see a transformation that is remarkably brought to life by Montes in ways that you will likely find resonating emotionally and spiritually.

While it's not likely that you got the chance to check out Sweet Little Lies in the theater, you can now purchase it for yourself and have the good feeling of knowing you're supporting an up-and-coming filmmaker with an abundance of talent available throughout the film.

The film's packaging includes a terrific audio commentary featuring the director and Editor Michael Louis Hill, a fun blooper reel, deleted scenes, the film's trailer and a photo gallery. While the extras may not be as abundant as some Hollywood releases, it's quite abundant for an independent.

For more information on purchasing your copy of Sweet Little Lies, visit the film's website or that for FilmWorks Entertainment.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic