Sometimes just showing the joy and pathos in everyday life is compelling enough. Watching the dramatic and emotional journey of characters in limbo can certainly make for an engrossing film. But with the Swiss import "Sister," Director Ursula Meier also adds a layer of background beauty in the form of a snowy resort that also doubles as a metaphor for the cold lack of feeling running rampant through most of the characters in the film. Complexity out of simplicity.
Simon is a twelve-year-old boy who has been forced to grow up fast. As the sole bread winner and money maker for his lethargic, unmotivated and all around irresponsible sister Louise, Simon spends most of his time stealing skis, gloves, goggles and everything else not nailed down from the local ski resort which he sells for money. It’s a task he has become good at and his drive to continue stems from the deep seeded love he has for his apathetic sister. Events along the way do give him pause, including meeting a loving mother who adores her own two kids and coming in conflict with a local resort worker who after catching Simon decides to go into the stealing business with him. But all end up pushing the already weary boy into a position of making adult decisions he is not yet old enough to face.
There are some mysteries and emotional truths within "Sister" to give some extra kick, but it's the troubled family dynamic that makes this one memorable. Both leads Lea Seydoux as the barren sister and especially young Kacey Mottet Klein as the needy brother deliver such a raw emotional impact that their unfolding story keeps the audience glued. Meier knows when to just let her poignant beats happen and her seemingly hands off approach with the material is a real masterstroke of dramatic filmmaking. Not to mention that the casting of X-Files alum Gillian Anderson is an equally purposeful and effective device to enhance the story impact – Meier really knows her stuff.
"Sister" is the kind of film that doesn't get made enough. It’s an affecting drama filled with sincerity, realism and a desire to take its time – family despair never looked so good.
Cast: Lea Seydoux, Kacey Mottet Klein, Gillian Anderson
Director: Ursula Meier
Running Time: 97 Minutes
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