is definitely from the wrong side of the ski lift. While some kneejerk critics will rush to call
him part of Switzerland’s 99%, he was not done a lot of favors by broken homes
led by single parental figures that prioritize self-indulgence over responsibility. In fact, his only family is the title
character of Ursula Meier’s Sister (trailer here), Switzerland’s
official foreign language Academy Award submission, which opens this Friday in
lives with Louise in a high rise project in the valley beneath an upscale ski
resort. Just about every day Simon rides
up to the ski lodge where he steals high end gear. It might be ethically problematic, but at
least it constitutes a job. That is
usually more than Louise can lay claim to, spending most of her time partying
with men she knows are only after one thing.
Indeed, it is the younger Simon who takes care of the older Louise, not
might be Simon’s reality, but he realizes something is not right with the
picture. He has a yearning for something
more stable and supportive, which is why he develops an attachment to the
wealthy single English mother he meets during his slope prowling. Consider it a parental crush. Though far from perfect, Simon’s life with
Louise is not at an equilibrium point.
Her self-sabotaging behavior is not sustainable. Nor is Simon’s chosen line of work.
you are looking for a light comedy with a pat happy ending, Sister is profoundly wrong for you. On the other hand, it is a rather remarkable
showcase for young Kacey Motten Klein’s acting chops as Simon. It is also interesting to see Gillian
Anderson pop-up in another European production, playing the English woman, who
could represent a variation on her Miss Havisham in Masterpiece’s Great Expectations.
Frankly, she is rather good in a role intended to be frustrating. Yet, she is nothing compared to Léa Sedoux’s
Louise, a depressingly realistic portrait of self-centered arrested
warmed over class consciousness gets a bit stale, particularly when the
titular Louise begs for a strong dose of root-hog-or-die tough love, Klein,
Seydoux, and even Anderson deliver consistently fine work. Though not exactly shocking, Meier handles
the third act revelations quite smoothly, building towards a surprisingly powerful
(and cinematic) payoff. Recommended for
those who appreciate naturalistic family dramas, Sister opens tomorrow (10/5) in New York at the Angelika Film
Labels: Gillian Anderson, Swiss Cinema, Ursula Meier