Friday, January 15, 2021

My Little Sister Review: A Poignant and Powerful Family Drama

Nina Hoss	...	Lisa Lars Eidinger	Lars Eidinger	...	Sven Marthe Keller	Marthe Keller	...	Kathy Jens Albinus	Jens Albinus	...	Martin Thomas Ostermeier	Thomas Ostermeier	...	David Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Isabelle Caillat	Isabelle Caillat	...	Assistant general manager Paulo dos Santos	Paulo dos Santos	...	Doctor Moritz Gottwald	Moritz Gottwald	...	Lukas Jenna Hasse	Jenna Hasse	...	Shopkeeper Urs Jucker	Urs Jucker	...	Actor Linne-Lu Lungershausen	Linne-Lu Lungershausen	...	Linne-Lu Noah Tscharland	Noah Tscharland	...	Noah

Release date: January 15, 2021 (American Streaming Release)
Running time: 101 minutes
Starring: Nina Hoss, Lars Eidinger, Marthe Keller, Jens Albinus, Thomas Ostermeier, Linne-Lu Lungerhausen, Noah Tscharland
Written and Directed By: Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond

A once successful playwright sacrifices her life and career for her dying brother in My Little SIster, a poignant, affecting drama from writer-directors Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond, nominated for the Golden Bear and Teddy Awards at the 2020 Berlinale. Lisa (Nina Hoss), once a brilliant playwright, no longer writes. She lives with her family in Switzerland, but her heart remains in Berlin, beating in time with that of her twin brother Sven (Lars Eidinger), the famous theatre actor. Since Sven has been suffering from an aggressive type of leukemia, the relationship between them has become even closer. Lisa does not want to accept this blow of fate, and she does everything in her power to bring Sven back on stage.  Her relationship with her husband starts to fall apart, but Lisa only has eyes for her brother, her mirror, who connects her back with her deepest aspirations and rekindles her desire to create, to feel alive again.

Directed by  Stéphanie Chuat	 Véronique Reymond	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Stéphanie Chuat	 Véronique Reymond	  Produced by  Ruth Waldburger	...	producerMusic by  Christian Garcia
This film is a dramatic powerhouse that deals with difficult subject matter.  From legacy, to career, to wants versus needs, this movie has it all.  And it explores these with a depth that you rarely see, a testament to the writing and the main actors.  The standout is Sven (Edinger) who is transformative in this movie.  Not only does he play a famous theater actor, but his character has several personas that come out in the film.  He has a persona when he is out and about, trying to show how strong he is and this plays into his theatrical roots.  He wears a stage wig and is much more dynamic and putting on a show.  But he also has a more personal persona that is reserved for his twin sister, and also a less exuberant, tired persona reserved for family.  And Edinger goes through these seamlessly and convincingly and transforms as his illness affects his body.  Lisa (Hoss) is also a well developed and complicated character.  Like her brother, she has a few personas that are showcased in this film.  Her professional persona, the one she has for her brother where the two can drop their guards, and her private wants and desires.  She goes through just as much of a physical and emotional journey as Sven, and changes her life and priorities because of this.  And Lisa's husband Martin (Albinus) has a more reserved role but no less emotional.  All of these characters highlight the public versus private duality, with their public life faces and selves and their more intimate, private personas.  

The story of My Little Sister is an interesting and emotional one that goes through several phases as Sven's illness develops and he and his sister explores the options available.  But throughout it all, you have this powerful connection between the two siblings as they navigate their lives and health together.  The dialog is sharp and weighty, with some really fantastic writing even when read through subtitles.  And it is fitting that Sven is a stage actor in this movie as at times it feels like a play due to the dramatic nature of the dialog and the extended speaking sequences.  And I loved having the contrast between Lisa and Sven's relationship and that of Lisa and Martin.  She can be much more open with Sven than she can with her own husband, which was an interesting contrast to see.  

My Little Sister is a slow burn but that is not necessarily a bad thing.  It has very moving and powerful situations that these characters have to encounter, yet feels understated and real.  It explores family and duty, because Lisa is constantly torn between caring for her family and what she truly wants and needs.  But some of the compromises and ultimatums in this film did seem a little forced.  It could just be my perspective on life, but the major conflict that caused her marriage to start falling apart seemed to be easier to resolve than it was made out  But overall, this is a potent drama with emotional and dynamic performances by all involved.  

My Little Sister has a heartfelt and heart wrenching story brought to life by the powerful and dynamic performances of Edinger, Hoss, and Albinus.  

Watch it.

Swiss Switzerland Oscar Drama Leukemia Chemo Chemotherapy Cancer Bone Marrow Life Family

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My Little Sister is playing in virtual cinemas across the country.  For more information and for showtimes click here.

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