Other Sister, The

Reviewed By Hawkboy
Posted 03/07/99 17:15:42

"See it for the acting alone."
4 stars (Worth A Look)

Fuck you, I liked this movie.

Call me a sissy. Call me a wuss. I don't care. I recognize that the film was manipulative as anything. It doesn't bother me. I realise that a few short months ago, I bashed "Patch Adams" for being manipulative, overly sentimental, and exploitative, three things that this movie is, and with a pungence at times. Listen: All I know is that I knew that the movie was yanking relentlessly at my heartstrings, and I just...went along with it.

Juliette Lewis and Giovanni Ribisi are tremendously cute together, and they managed to seem "challenged" without seeming too stagy or over-the-top. They seemed like real people, and after a while, you stopped thinking of them as actors playing mentally handicapped people, and just as regular folk. There's a scene where they're yelling at each other, and I didn't see it as an actor's showcase, an Academy Award tryout, or anything other than two people pouring their hearts out to each other. Ribisi and Lewis are two exceptionally brave performers, and they manage to breathe life into their characters so that you honestly care about them, and their behaviour isn't motivated by plot - they seem like real people.

This is not a perfect movie by any standard - there are moments where the plot threatens to take over and turn it into a TV movie of the week, but this is first and foremost an actor's movie, and the two leads turn it into something that warmed my heart on a cold winter's night.

Sentimental movies aren't necessarily all that bad - if done well, they can transcend their somewhat dubious genre and take on a spirit all their own. "Patch Adams" chose to stick rigidly to its limitations and cookie-cutter characters, and so it didn't move me. "The Other Sister" excels because of its characters, who are individuals and are special because of it.

It will never win an Oscar, but it made me happy to be alive. And that's what movies are for.

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