‘Sister’ Movie Review
There are a great many movies that are wonderful films, yet you can’t imagine yourself ever watching them again because they take such an emotional toll. The new film, Sister, from French-Swiss director Ursula Meier is a good example of this. But while the movie tugs at your heartstrings, it never turns into sap. Rather, it stays sharp and biting through the twist and to the very end.
Simon (Kacey Mottet Klein) is ten going on thirty. To support himself and his older sister Louise (Lea Seydoux), Simon spends his days at a posh skiing resort in the Swiss alps, stealing everything from high-end goggles and gloves to professional racing skiis. He is ballsy, fearless and a shrewd businessman when it comes to selling the goods to the people in the town below the mountain.
He’s also incredibly lonely. Although he lives with Louise, she is never around, preferring to spend time with a series of loser boyfriends than with her brother. Their relationship is an odd one; Louise depends on Simon for their living expenses and doesn’t seem to care that he puts himself in danger every single day and apparently doesn’t go to school. Meanwhile, Simon is very protective of his sister, almost as if he was the adult.
When Simon meets Kristin (Gillian Anderson), a patron of the ski resort with children of her own, he wants to be a part of their happy family, but something keeps pulling him back to Louise. Finding out what that thing is will either be a surprise or a twist that one saw coming a mile away, but even the latter doesn’t negate the emotional impact. The movie shifts and the picture becomes clear. Everything after the reveal is gut-wrenching.
This film is very much about the haves and have-nots. Simon can almost be seen as a modern day Robin Hood, taking from the rich so the poor can have nice skiing equipment. He’s also like a scrappy kid from a Dickens novel; even while he’s stealing backpacks, you still find yourself hoping he won’t get caught. That’s a tribute to Klein’s wonderful perfomance. Simon will break your heart.
Although I understood the reasoning behind including Anderson’s character, I wish more had been done to flesh out that story. She’s a wonderful actress and I feel like she wasn’t utilized here. At the end of the day, it was Simon and Louise’s story, but Simon’s odd relationship with Kristin could have used a bit more screen time.
While this movie has its depressing and bleak moments, it’s nowhere near on par with the usual French ennui. In fact, I left the theatre with a smile on my face. The last few seconds of the film saved it for me. If not for that ending, I’m not sure I would have liked it as much as I did.
Sister opens in limited theatres on Friday, October 19th.