Spoonful of Sugar

04/25/2023 11:01

Film: Spoonful of Sugar

Year: 2022

Director: Mercedes Bryce Morgan

Writer: Leah Saint Marie

Starring: Morgan Saylor, Kat Foster and Myko Olivier



This is a movie that I got turned on to thanks to members of the horror community. It hit Shudder and I heard buzz. It went on a list to check out. I decided during a week when there wasn’t a horror release at my theater, I would give this a watch for a featured review on Journey with a Cinephile: A Horror Movie Podcast. I read the synopsis to get an idea for the pairing as well. Also decided to give it a rewatch to see where I fell with a second time around.

Synopsis: Millicent (Morgan Saylor) is taking a semester from her studies to take care of Johnny (Danilo Crovetti), a sickly, nonspeaking child with severe allergies. His mother, Rebecca (Kat Foster), is an author and his father, Jacob (Myko Olivier), is a carpenter.

That is a good synopsis of what we are getting here. This starts with a nursery rhyme, but the words are darker than normal. We then see Millicent on the bus. She is headed to the job interview with Rebecca. Johnny is also sitting in on it. He doesn’t talk. She relays that this boy takes extra care as he is allergy to different things. Millicent is good with him and she is hired on the spot. This young woman also meets Jacob, as he comes in from doing yardwork and is shirtless.

I think it is here that I should delve into the character of Millicent a bit more. She has her own social issues. Her psychiatrist is Dr. Welsh (Keith Powell). They’re using LSD to help her. She is supposed to be using micro-doses, but she has upped them on her own. Dr. Welsh is pleased with the things that she’s told him. Millicent has issues from the past as well. She grew up in foster care and wants to help children now. It can be a bit misguided though and she goes too far.

With that set up, let me give you a bit more about the family she is hired to help. Johnny seems to be allergic to most everything. Rebecca is protective over him. Jacob is too. There is only so much more he can do though. He wants them to consider putting Johnny in a home where he can be helped better. There also might be a dark secret with him. Rebecca and Jacob’s marriage is affected by this. Rebecca still wants to be as adventurous sexually as they were, but having Johnny makes Jacob a bit more reserved, at least with his wife.

Things get better with Johnny thanks to Millicent. She is there for him. Having the issues that she did in the past gives her better insight. That is until she decides to do a treatment on him without informing the parents. She also has her sights set on Jacob as she notices the cracks in this couple’s marriage. She seems to want to replace Rebecca as the mother/wife to this family. It is through this that even more secrets are revealed.

That is where I’m going to leave my recap and introduction to the characters. Where I want to start is that I wasn’t expecting this to go where it did. There are good aspects and others that don’t necessarily work for me. I can understand why it goes where it does though. Since I’m going to delve a bit more into things, I’m going cryptic here. What I will say is that after my first watch, I did have issues with things. There were little things that I missed though and it made more sense this time around. The second watch definitely helped.

Now to start delving into it, I’ll go back to the character of Millicent. I will say that Saylor does an excellent job in her performance. She is a young woman that is struggling. She wants to find love. What I like here is that this doesn’t just mean love from a significant other. She wants to be a mother. Part of this stems from her upbringing in foster care. She never had stable parents. It also causes her to not feel love. She also has ‘daddy issues’ and is attracted to Jacob. There is an interesting thing about her home life that gets introduced. That made me question if she was as old as she said and if she was truly in college. It was with this second watch that I picked up on things and may have fixed issues I had here. What I caught was the different names that she is called by. Little bits of information are also shared through interactions with others as well.

Then over to the family again. Rebecca and Jacob seem like they used to love each other. They were compatible sexually. That was until they had Johnny. I’m not sure if his medical issues has turned Jacob off doing things or if her becoming a mother has ruined it. The easy answer is that it is a combination of both. He also seems like he has wandering eyes due to their decreased intimacy. It is also interesting that Rebecca writes books on how to help people with their sexual understanding and how to connect. There seems like a disconnect because there are issues in her life. It seems like a situation where she can help others while she cannot fix what is wrong in her life. The ending lines make sense as well even more now.

I’m going to stick with them and my thoughts are that Foster and Olivier are good in their roles. They feel like a couple who want to help their son, but Jacob is home more than Rebecca and he’s tired. He wants to get better help and increase the quality of the boy’s life. Rebecca seems like someone who would feel like a failure if they did that. It is interesting as well since I used to give advice on relationships even though I either had never been in one or mine were in shambles. Jacob also seems easily seduced. I can understand the heat of the moment and his wife being away. There are also hints about Johnny’s condition not being what we think.

That should be the last bit, involving the boy. I think both his parents have his best interests at heart. They love him and want him to get better. Millicent also cares about him. She comes from a different perspective. She brings up an interesting idea as well that his allergies might be in his head. This is a thought that I’ve never considered and makes me wonder if there is research out there to back it up. She also wants to use her LSD treatment on him as she thinks it will help. She does make headway with the boy and it shocks Rebecca. There are other factors though that ramp up the tension here. It seems to be a high number of dead rabbits. I’d also say something else hidden in the backyard as well.

Where I’ll then go is the acting. I’ve already said how good Saylor is and she carries this movie for sure. Foster and Olivier are also solid as this married couple. You can see there is still love there, but it is strained. I like Crovetti as the boy. What works there is they limit him. That fits in the framework as we aren’t fully sure what is wrong with him. It built tension for me. Other than that, I’d say that Powell and the rest of the cast rounded this out for what was needed.

All that is left to go into would be filmmaking. The best thing is the cinematography. I like that we get to see the hallucinations that Millicent is experiencing. She isn’t giving the full truth to Dr. Welsh. With her history and past trauma, this helps her descend into a delusion. This also adds tension. The CGI for these scenes aren’t great. I am forgiving though as they’re not real so it being distorted works in its favor. I also like these images we get of men coming on to her in her fantasies. She sees them as evil and having horns. That was interesting to me, especially with her past and trauma. Other than that, I thought the soundtrack fit for what was needed. The use of nursery rhymes is a good touch with themes are get.

In conclusion, this is a solid film that I’m glad I didn’t sleep on. I think this explores interesting concepts of being a parent and how drugs can help, but also create issues for someone when not used properly. The balance of Saylor performance is good. She seems like someone who is normal enough, but peaking behind the veil, we see there are underlying issues there. The rest of the cast is solid around her. This is also well-made for me. Not the best movie I’ve seen this year but has good elements and I’d recommend a watch to horror as well as non-horror fans alike.


My Rating: 8 out of 10