Jason Moma’s new Netflix movie soared straight to number 1 on the platform in its very first night. Sweet Girl, a drama-thriller about a widowed father on a mission for revenge, is the number 1 movie on Netflix at the time of this writing and number 1 on the service overall. However, the surge in views does not necessarily reflect the movie’s quality.
Sweet Girl stars Momoa as Ray Cooper, a recently widowed father on a quest for vengeance against the people he holds responsible for his wife’s death — the pharmaceutical companies. His daughter is played by Isabela Merced and his late wife is played by Adria Arjona. The movie is written by Gregg Hurwitz and Philip Eisner and directed by Brian Andrew Mendoza, and it was released as a Netflix original film on Friday, Aug. 20. While the viewership has apparently been massive, the reviews have been less promising.
At the time of this writing, Sweet Girl has a 19 percent rating on the Rotten Tomatoes “Tomatometer,” based on the analyses of 32 verified film critics. It has a 49 percent score among casual audience members as well, with over 50 user-submitted ratings there. While it is considerably higher, the latter number is still far from making Sweet Girl an instant classic.
Viewers are undoubtedly showing up based on Netflix’s powerful internal advertising system. The platform shows trailers for its original productions right on the homepage in every version of its app, and on a Friday night, a brand new movie with an A-list star is sure to draw some eyes. However, since Netflix selectively reports its own metrics, there’s no way to know how many views this movie got on its “opening night,” nor how many viewers stuck around until the end.
The New York Times‘ Teo Bugbee wrote that Sweet Girl does not do much to distinguish itself from other revenge thrillers, especially those released in recent years. Bugbee praises the movie’s decision to turn its ire on health care corporations as “cathartic” and “innovative,” but writes that the movie is “otherwise nondescript.” Over at The Guardian, Benjamin Lee wrote that the movie was interesting in some ways, but “not worth the slog it takes to get there and the ungainly mess it leaves after.”
Still, for a brand new movie, this opening night performance is certainly nothing to ignore. Sweet Girl is streaming now on Netflix, and it may be the big talking point in the weeks to come.