Sister My Sister (1994) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

In the early 20th century, there was a rather famous murder trial in France, wherein two maids killed their domineering mistress and her daughter. The trial was made more sensational my the fact that the two maids were sisters and each other's lovers. Noted avant-garde playwright Jean Genet was so taken with the case that he wrote one of his most famous plays (The Maids) about it.

Sister My Sister is not Genet's version, but another fictionalized version of the story. It really isn't a movie at all so much as a filmed performance of a four-person stage play about four very odd people that bear no resemblance to recognizable human beings. The acting is excellent, and the script is solid, but just realize that it is a stage play before you rent it. 


none, but the two sisters have some lesbian scenes
The target market for this film is older females. 
  • Women in general rate it 8.0 at IMDb, (men only 6.6), while women 30 and older rate it 8.7
  • There is a very clear relationship between one's age and one's appreciation of this movie.
Age Avg Score
under 18 5.0
18-29 6.0
30-44 6.5
45 or more 8.1

The age thing didn't help me any. It was just too damned slow for me. 

I once watched a movie where I thought my fast forward was broken. The movie was Tarkovsky's Nostalghia. I played it through once without the sound, at 8x speed, and I kept thinking, "what is wrong with my DVD software?", because the people and action were moving at a pace slower than normal, not faster. It took me a while to figure out that the movie really is that slow, so slow that it still appears to be in slow motion when running at eight times normal speed.

DVD info from Amazon.

bare bones

I had almost the same experience with this film. At 8x, the characters don't seem to be moving slower than normal, but their speed seems to be just about normal, sometimes a little faster, sometimes a little slower. So I checked the thing, stopped, ejected, started up again, thinking I had a problem with my software.

There was no problem. It really is that show, the camera really moves that little, and the cuts really are that infrequent.

It is also the rare case of a film with no male characters at all. Also written and directed by women.

The Critics Vote

  • Berardinelli 3/4, Maltin 3/4

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.9 
  • With their dollars ... a bomb, even by art house standards, grossing $217,000 in the USA.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+. Solid art house fare, but absolutely no crossover appeal. Mainstream filmgoers will hate it. It is pretentious and as slow as a movie can be without being directed by Tarkovsky.

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