Leave the cannoli, take the movies

Review Blog


Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on October 22, 2012 at 9:30 PM

SISTER   ****

Ursula Meier


IDEA:  Simon, a boy who lives with his destitute sister beside a luxurious ski resort, spends his days stealing from the resort's wealthy patrons and then selling the goods for money.

BLURB:  The cavernous Swiss Alps become the picturesque symbol of aching, bittersweet entrapment in Ursula Meier’s Sister, a tough and tender pre-adolescent odyssey that at once affirms and distorts our perceptions of familial ties. The film hinges beautifully on a complex, exceedingly fascinating relationship between 12-year-old Simon and his older sister Louise, two alienated kids whose interdependency sits side by side with utter contentiousness. Friction between them grows as a charge of turbulent transgressions upends both of their routines, while forlorn consolations reveal a moving desire to make amends. Meier and spectacular DP Agnès Godard shoot spacious snow-covered slopes to maximum effect, holding back to capture wide shots that emphasize distance and scale, Simon and his sister dwarfed by the immensity of their surroundings. All of this is received, stunningly, by young Kacey Mottet Klein, who carries the tricky emotional dynamics of his character’s predicament while never losing a sense of hard-worn realism. The film around him follows suit, and the result is an elegant, understated triumph.

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