Written and directed by Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond with superb control and insight, My Little Sister never goes precisely where the audience expects, as the filmmakers dole out crucial information at well-timed intervals, illuminating the pieces of Lisa and Sven’s past that have brought them to this life-or-death point.
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A sterling cast makes up for screenplay weaknesses.
My Little Sister is frank and poignant. With a distinctive angle and the rawness of the cast’s first-rate performances, Chuat and Reymond elevate a premise that could have, in other hands, veered into the realm of the uninspired.
It’s a film that carries emotional power more in its moments of natural reflexiveness than the weepie genre’s more conventional emotional beats, anchored by two focused lead performances that thankfully don’t succumb to melodrama.
A modestly scaled, intimately observed domestic drama that doesn’t reinvent any wheels in its portrayal of family frictions, midlife ennui and the anguish of terminal illness, but handles all this potentially sticky material with clear-eyed (and finally, when required, somewhat moist-eyed) grace.
Distinguished by a modestly discreet directing style that allows the actors to shine, My Little Sister offers neither false uplift nor dreary realism.
Every moment strengthens the essence of the drama—the bond of love between two people who came out of their mother’s womb within seconds of one another.
My Little Sister regains its footing in its final scenes, eschewing the expected for the raw emotion of real life.
The pleasure of watching five fine actors feed on each other’s crackling dramatic energy drives this sensitive if not exactly groundbreaking Swiss cancer drama.
My Little Sister comes from an unusual creative team: Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond, Swiss friends from childhood who write and direct films together. Their fourth feature, it combines a fluid visual realism — there are some astonishing sequences of Alpine parasailing — with an emotional intimacy that’s its own form of jumping off a cliff. This time, they’re collaborating with an actress willing to take a blind leap and bring us with her. It’s a bracing trip, a work of daredevil nerve that serves as its own reward.