If you were left spinning from that twist, Mendoza is here to walk you through it.
[Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers for Sweet Girl.]
At the climax of Sweet Girl, the audience learns a surprising truth. Ray Cooper (Jason Momoa) and his daughter Rachel Cooper (Isabela Merced) haven’t been traveling together on a mission of revenge. Ray died during the subway attack at the outset of the movie, and Rachel, scarred by the loss of both parents at the hands of nefarious forces, has been imagining that the violence she inflicted was being done by Ray with her as an onlooker.
We had the opportunity to speak with director Brian Andrew Mendoza for The Collider Podcast and delved into how they approached this surprising ending. Mendoza says that having Rachel and Ray be the same person for most of the movie was always in the script and one of the reasons he signed on to the project. “I liked the challenge of it,” said Mendoza. “If this gets done right it could be a really great part of the story to reveal. And I really liked that in the structure of the film, typically if something like this happens, when there’s a reveal like this it happens in the last five minutes of the movie. Here what I really enjoyed about it is that you find about it and that’s a proponent that takes you into the third act and it’s all character-driven. It’s all building onto the character at hand with Rachel and continuing to follow her through the last step of her journey, and that was always the case from the first draft of the film.”
Mendoza explained that they considered pushing it back, “but I didn’t want it to be this reveal at the last minute. I definitely didn’t want it to feel like this trick-pony thing that happens where it’s like ‘Hey! I tricked you!’ You want it to be important and the audience to be invested in it so that it feels right.”
It’s definitely a twist that will have people talking, but as Mendoza points out, the benefit of having the film on Netflix is that you can immediately dive back in and see how they wove in the twist so that it’s not a cheat but explains things like “Why would Jason Momoa struggle to beat up Justin Bartha?”
For more from our interview with Mendoza, be sure to check out the full episode of The Collider Podcast. Sweet Girl is now streaming on Netflix.
He also talks about his unique fight scene with Adam Driver.
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