Sister My Sister (1994) / Drama-Thriller
MPAA Rated: R for sexuality and a brutal murder sequence
Running Time: 89 min.
Cast: Joely Richardson, Jodhi May, Julie Walters, Sophie Thursfield
Director: Nancy Meckler
Screenplay: Wendy Kesselman (based on her play)
Review published May 13, 1999
In a French provincial town during the 1930s, two sisters are hired as maids in the home of a domineering widow and her homely daughter. The two sisters live in constant fear of upsetting the very strict house-owner, while they also form a unique bond due to their own oppressive childhoods. As the two draw closer, they even become lovers, but they also become increasingly careless in their work, which will not be tolerated at any cost by the proper Madam Danzard.
SISTER MY SISTER features an incredibly intense (and supposedly true) story showcasing the power of oppression and the effects of the slow boil which later leads to violence. The feature is beautifully acted and stylishly directed, and definitely delivers the chills due to the tense agony which punctuates almost every scene. Given the controversial subject matter, this is definitely not to every taste, as there is the obvious sibling incest, and hardly a happy moment in the entire production.
The direction by Meckler, quite commendable in her first film at the helm, is right on the money, with not a scene wasted, clocking in at under ninety minutes. SISTER MY SISTER may be a simple tale, subtle but with powerful overtones, and there's hardly a moment where it isn't completely riveting.
©1999 Vince Leo