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Sonny (2002 film)

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Promotional poster
Directed byNicolas Cage
Written byJohn Carlen
Produced by
CinematographyBarry Markowitz
Edited byHoward E. Smith
Music byClint Mansell
Distributed bySamuel Goldwyn Films
Release date
  • December 27, 2002 (2002-12-27)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$4 million[1]
Box office$132,221[2]

Sonny (aka Pony Rides[3]) is a 2002 American crime drama film starring James Franco, Harry Dean Stanton, Brenda Blethyn, Mena Suvari and Josie Davis. Based on a screenplay by John Carlen, the film marked the directorial debut of Nicolas Cage,[4] who makes a cameo appearance. It was co-produced by Cage's production company Saturn Films.[5]



Sonny (Franco) is the son of Jewel (Blethyn) who runs a small brothel in early-1980s New Orleans, Louisiana.[6][7] Sonny returns home from the army, staying with his mother while waiting to start the job an army buddy of his promised him. Jewel tries to convince Sonny to come back to working for her as he had before the army, saying many of his old clients still miss him and he was the best gigolo she had ever had.

Sonny repeatedly turns her down, wanting to leave that life behind. However, the job he was promised never materializes and he is forced to return to working for his mother. Jewel had recently recruited a new girl to the brothel, Carol (Suvari), who meets Sonny and falls in love with him. They talk of getting out together.

One of Carol's clients, an older man, proposes to her. She initially declines, hoping to go away with Sonny. She and Sonny fall out as he fails to make an effort to get out of the business, instead becoming increasingly introverted and depressed, with occasional outbursts as he looks for more work. Ultimately, Carol accepts the marriage proposal, Sonny unravels as he realizes his father—upon his death—had been with Sonny his whole life but declined to reveal himself for fear of being thought a loser, and Sonny and Carol fail to live happily ever after.





The film was poorly received[8] upon release, with a 21% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes based on 28 reviews. The site's consensus states: "Sonny is sunk by debuting director Nicolas Cage's evident inability to locate the heart of his movie's story—or properly modulate his cast's performances."[9] However, Tommy Wiseau is a fan of the movie, and Franco's performance in it gave Wiseau faith in Franco's ability to portray him respectfully in The Disaster Artist.[10]

See also



  1. ^ "Sonny (2002) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Sonny (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  3. ^ Turner Classic Movies
  4. ^ The Sonny Boy Ain't Right! My World of Flops #187/The Travolta/Cage Project #69 Sonny - Nathan Rabin's Happy Place
  5. ^ BFI
  6. ^ FilmAffinity
  7. ^ MUBI
  8. ^ Radio Times
  9. ^ "Sonny (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 13, 2023.
  10. ^ "Los Angeles Times". Facebook.com. Retrieved 2017-09-12.