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Movie Reviews

‘My Little Sister’ review: Swiss Oscar entry filled with strong performances and heart

A possible Oscar contender.

My Little Sister starring Nina Hoss is a drama that has been selected as Switzerland’s official Oscar entry for Best International Feature. The movie is about a stage actor named Sven (Lars Eidinger) who is suffering from leukemia. His twin sister Lisa (Hoss) comes home to comfort Sven who is committed to return to the stage. The story is about balancing family, youthful dreams, and a a career.

The film works thanks mainly to the chemistry between Hoss and Eidinger. One of the biggest sources of conflict between the siblings is the way their lives have turned out. Both are creative forces, but Sven has had the opportunity to do more with his talent. Lisa may be the more talented of the two, but it is Sven who gets the acclaim.

My Little Sister could have been a spiteful drama filled with bitterness. Instead, it is more about a subdued grief and understanding. Over the course of the movie, Lisa comes to the realization that Sven may not survive. The always dependable Hoss plays the role with a restrained sadness that adds to her character. While the moments with Eidinger are great, the most memorable scenes feature Hoss.

For his part, Sven brings levity to the film. His more intense moments are balanced by his willingness to laugh at his lot in life. Still, My Little Sister never downplays what Sven is going through. For his part, Eidinger brings the right amount of frustration and anger to the part. The movies never gets too dark while exploring what Sven and his family are going through.

From its title to every interaction in the movie, My Little Sister seems to be saying women are defined by their relationships to others. To further the point, everyone in Lisa’s life compares her to her brother. At times, the movie’ sole purpose seems to show how many people in her life Lisa is trying to satisfy. While it may seem like a negative stance to take, the film seems to have a loftier message.

'My Little Sister' review: Swiss Oscar entry filled with strong performances and heart

There are characters in the film that do not see Lisa as an individual, but this based on decisions she made. It is almost as if she  is willing to take a backseat. Over the course of My Little Sister, it is clear that Lisa wants more say in what is happening. She is tired of being overlooked. It is clumsily done at times, but there is a story of realization.

My Little Sister is boosted by its powerful performances. Nina Hoss and Lars Eidinger are wonderful as the twin siblings who are trying to help each other get through life. They are surrounded by excellent supporting characters. The story loses its way at times but always remains engaging. Great camerawork make this moving drama a worthwhile watch.

My Little Sister comes to virtual cinema January 15

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