Posted in Diablo Joe Reviews by Neal at 10:30, Feb 26 2023
"Spoonful of Sugar"
review by Diablo Joe
"Spoonful of Sugar"
Sexual repression. Sadomasochism. LSD. Infidelity. Jealousy. Murder.
They make for a helluva mix, and "Spoonful of Sugar" is the disturbing and deadly cocktail that doesn't go down quite as sweetly as its title might suggest. Director Mercedes Bryce Morgan's previous film, last year's "Fixation," was well received. Here, she delivers a twisted (and twisting) tale of maternal instincts, sexual desires, and so much more with the assistance of a sharp script by Leah Saint Marie and a crackling cast led by Morgan Saylor as the sociopathic Millicent.
Millicent has been hired by successful author Rebecca to nanny her son, Johnny. Millicent seems like a perfect choice to pair with the boy as she is working on a thesis on allergies, and Rebecca insists that Johnny is rife with them and suffering from a mute social detachment. Millicent begins a fascination with the child, but one with Rebecca's husband Jacob, who she eyes sweatily shirtless and working in the yard.
Morgan uses this to thrust the audience into a discomforting feeling that never leaves us throughout the film. Millicent, when first introduced, seems far younger than college-age. With her pigtails and schoolgirlish attire, she evokes a Lolita-esque image, and as she pleasures herself while thinking of Jacob, we are anything but aroused. Millicent insinuates herself increasingly into Johnny's world, defying Rebecca's orders for his care and going so far as giving the boy the LSD she has been micro-dosing herself with ever-increasing frequency.
As she imagines herself as the boy's mother, Millicent begins a similar fantasy involving Jacob, who is becoming less and less thrilled with Rebecca's masochistic sexual demands. It is a twisted illusion that gains reality as Millicent's machinations begin to produce results in Johnny. But this is just the start. Morgan and Saint Marie have much more in store for their characters and surprises and twists for us, the audience. "Spoonful" is a film that toys with the viewer, playing games of expectations and unsettling encounters and relations. It's careful not to reveal its hand too early, and even when it explodes with sudden and shocking violence, the filmmakers have more in store for us.
Morgan Saylor is dementedly disturbing as Millicent. As mentioned, she exudes a pubescent innocence at the film's opening but evolves into a far more aggressively confident character. Saylor is almost gleeful in her performance, making Millicent all the more deliciously menacing. It is a role that skirts the edge of being unhinged with skill and care. Kat Foster and Myko Olivier are both excellent. Foster manages to be domineering, masochistic, and desperate, all simultaneously, and it's precisely what the part requires.
“Spoonful’s” final revelation may derail some viewers a bit, and its logic may strike some as a bit suspect, while others may find it icing on an already rich and multi-layered cake. But Morgan and Saint Marie have crafted a diabolical and darkly perverse tale that is as enjoyable as it is bonkers. “Spoonful of Sugar” is sinister medicine indeed.
This devil of a reviewer gives “Spoonful of Sugar” 4 out of 5 imps