Title: My Little Sister (Schwesterlein)
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Stéphanie Chuat, Véronique Reymond
Starring: Nina Hoss, Lars Eidinger, Jens Albinus
Runtime: 1 hr 39 mins
What It Is: A successful playwright, Lisa, hasn’t written in years. Her brother Sven, a talented and famous theater actor, faces the challenge of a lifetime: overcoming leukemia. Lisa returns to the heart of Germany to try and mend her brother’s, and maybe fix hers in the process.
What We Think: This is the first feature I’ve ever seen from Switzerland, and I have to say I’m glad it was Schwesterlein. Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond have crafted quite the compelling and heartfelt drama that had me fully invested in its characters and story, which is further solidified by breathtaking performances and a gripping screenplay.
The story itself deals with heavy material, but it doesn’t handle it unrealistically. As I stated before, the performances are incredibly good. There’s one scene I can recall between Nina Hossa and Lars Eidinger where Eindinger just goes all out with such raw emotion, to the point where I felt like I was watching something that I wasn’t supposed to be watching. When performances elevate a film in this way, I can’t help but be swept up in its narrative. The screenplay is well written, I’m not sure if some scenes were improvised but it definitely felt like it.
In terms of pacing, it definitely takes its time in some areas, but it also stays for a bit too long in others. This style of filmmaking is more than welcome in my book, but for some, it may take a little bit to get engaged. Not necessarily a slow burn, but a cautious journey into a heart-rending and emotional story. The cinematography is excellent. It’s sometimes handheld, sometimes just a static shot of two characters having a conversation. Not a single shot felt devoid of life in any way.
Our Grade: B+, The directors have made quite the moving drama here. It’s the subject matter and how the characters react to it within the story is what makes this film so heartfelt and moving. It poses the question of ‘what lengths would you be willing to go to in order to save a family member?’, and the film’s answer is absolutely profound and genuine.