Sweet Virginia (film)

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Sweet Virginia
Sweet Virginia (film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jamie M. Dagg
Produced by Chris Ferguson
Brian Kavanaugh-Jones
Fernando Loureiro
Roberto Vasconcellos
Written by Benjamin China
Paul China
Starring Jon Bernthal
Christopher Abbott
Imogen Poots
Rosemarie DeWitt
Odessa Young
Jared Abrahamson
Music by Brooke Blair
Will Blair
Cinematography Jessica Lee Gagné
Edited by Duff Smith
Automatik Entertainment
Oddfellows Entertainment
XYZ Films
Distributed by IFC Films
Release date
  • April 21, 2017 (2017-04-21) (Tribeca Film Festival)
  • November 17, 2017 (2017-11-17) (United States)
Running time
95 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English

Sweet Virginia is a 2017 American thriller film directed by Jamie M. Dagg, written by Benjamin China and Paul China, and starring Jon Bernthal, Christopher Abbott, Imogen Poots, Rosemarie DeWitt, Odessa Young and Jared Abrahamson. It was released on November 17, 2017, by IFC Films.


The film opens with Tom joining Lou and Mitchel at Lou's bar for their weekly poker games when a man (Christopher Abbott) enters and asks to be served. Upon being told the bar is closed the man refuses to leave. When Mitchel approaches, the man threatens Mitchel calling him by name. The man then gets up and angrily leaves only to return and violently shoot Lou, Mitchel, and Tom. The next morning Sam (Jon Bernthal) wakes up after dreaming about his former days as a bull rider. He starts his morning at the motel off by reading about the shootings in the paper and then responding to a disturbance in room 128. Sam politely and shyly asks the tenant to quiet down only to have the door shut in his face. He turns and slowly walks away while Maggie teases him. Later that day, Tom's wife, Bernadette (Rosemarie DeWitt), goes on the porch during a gathering for her deceased husband and asks Sam if she can come by tonight after rubbing the back of his head and telling him he needs a haircut. Sam tells her no, we see a silent exchange between the two that ends in a hug. Sam has trouble lifting his right arm and walks with a bit of a limp due to injuries suffered from bull riding. Bernadette, ignoring Sam's earlier wish, wakes Sam in the middle of the night for sex to which he obliges. They discuss whether Tom is in heaven or hell and Sam seems regretful of his relationship with Bernadette. Upon leaving the next morning, Bernadette picks up the picture Sam laid down. The photo is of a woman and a young girl.

Lila (Imogen Poots) meets the man who shot Mitchel, her husband, and asks why he killed Tom and Lou instead of only killing Mitchel as planned. Showing no remorse, he blames her for the circumstances as Mitchel didn't leave the bar as she said he would. The man then tells her she should be celebrating because Mitchel has been killed as she wanted. He asks about his payment and Lila tells him she will have it by the end of the week after she meets with Mitchel's lawyer. Lila tells the man she wanted Mitchel dead due to constant cheating and that he was a pig. Upon visiting Mitchel's lawyer, Lila learns that Mitchel was bankrupt, he lied about his life insurance policies, and was being sued by former business partners. The bank now owns her home and there is no money. Mitchel's killer later approaches Sam at the motel and introduces himself as Elwood. He extends his stay at the motel and then begins giving Sam praise as a famous bull rider. He tells Sam that his father was a huge fan of his and would've loved to have met him but he's now deceased. Sam befriends Elwood and they go to a local diner where Sam talks about his health and why he shakes. Sam seems puzzled when Elwood tells him about his mothers death and how his father was absent due to incarceration. He says that his father died in a prison riot in 1996 and shows a strong disdain for his father. Elwood then asks Sam if he has a woman, and reluctant but smiling, Sam says yes. Lila enters the diner after riding with Bernadette to get milkshakes. Sam calls her over to the table and introduces her to Elwood. Taken aback, she goes along as though she doesn't know him before quickly leaving. Later that night, on the way home from Bernadette's house, Lila is followed by Elwood but is able to evade him.

After a phone call with his mother, Elwood becomes enraged and instigates a fight with two men hoping they will engage him before calling Lila and leaving her a threatening voicemail. He then violently beats the two men before leaving. After receiving the threatening voicemail, Lila tries to sneak from her home in the night but is attacked by Elwood. He demands payment and, again, she tells him she can get the money. Satisfied, he leaves and then meets with Paul and enlists his services to do a job to which Paul agrees. Sam leaves Maggie's basketball game to spend the night with Bernadette. Once Sam has left her home, Elwood and Paul approach the house while she is in the bath. Hearing a noise, Bernadette goes to investigate. She is chased by Paul while Elwood breaks into a wall safe. She stabs and kills Paul and is then chased by Elwood. He subdues and nearly shoots Bernadette when he notices Sam's hat on the counter. He picks up the money from the safe and leaves.

Upon returning to the motel, Sam finds a tenant complaining about the noise in room 128. Sam knocks on the door and begins fighting with the tenant. However, his condition prevents him from throwing a punch and he is then overpowered and left lying in the rain. Sam recovers enough to go to Bernadette's home where he finds out about the break-in. Elwood, who was injured in the struggle with Bernadette, tries sneaking out the next morning but is stopped by Sam who merely wants to say goodbye. However, Sam notices that Elwood is bleeding, whereby Elwood shoots at him. Sam then runs to the motel office for his grandfather's gun and returns fire, killing Elwood. The police go through Elwood's belongings and find Lila's name and number. She is arrested and the final shot is of Bernadette cutting Sam's hair while he thinks about his riding accident.



The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 21, 2017.[1][2] On May 9, 2017, IFC Films acquired distribution rights to the film.[3] The film was released on November 17, 2017, by IFC Films.[4]


  1. ^ a b Peter Debruge (2017-04-27). "'Sweet Virginia' Review: One of the Year's Best Thrillers". Variety. Retrieved 2017-07-20.
  2. ^ David Ehrlich (2017-04-23). "Sweet Virginia Review: Christopher Abbott Shines In A Gritty Neo-Noir". IndieWire. Retrieved 2017-07-20.
  3. ^ Hipes, Patrick (2017-05-09). "IFC Films Acquires Tribeca Thriller 'Sweet Virginia'". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-07-20.
  4. ^ Nick Romano (2017-10-14). "The Punisher's Jon Bernthal stars in Sweet Virginia trailer". EW.com. Retrieved 2017-11-19.

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