Sister My Sister Movie Review
The aforementioned two women are Christine (Joely Richardson) and Lea (Jodhi May), close-knit, questionably sane sisters employed as maids for the domineering Madame Danzard (Julie Walters). The girls slave for low wages, and what they do earn is inevitably taken by their greedy mother. The theme of "All they have is each other" is truly beaten over your head in no uncertain terms. When things start to get bad, the maids turn to the film's other theme for solace: "There's no problem a little incest can't cure." When things get their worst, only wholesale slaughter will do.
The film is "based on actual events" in 1932 France. But writer Wendy Kesselman (who somehow also wrote a stage play for this) should have spiced things up a little bit, considering the scandalous subject matter. Instead, we're presented a lifeless melodrama with as much fanfare as a week-old fish. The cast does a great job with what there is, unfortunately resulting in good acting that is just terribly boring. Director Nancy Meckler provides a few nice touches, but not nearly enough to save the film from wallowing in its pretense.
Like most period pieces, the filmmakers obviously felt very strongly about getting Sister My Sister made without corrupting the integrity of the story and the picture. And like most period pieces, this was accomplished only through a total disregard for the audience. It's a surprising example of what not to do.