SHE SEES DEAD PEOPLE...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 06/02/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a spooky, southern gothic film about two sisters, both haunted by their pasts. Living together in an exquisite, antebellum mansion in the bayou of Louisiana, the Bonnard sisters struggle to meet each day as it comes, running a bed and breakfast. One sister, Lucy (Jennifer Jason Leigh), is somewhat fey and seems to need a reality check. The older of the two, Charlotte (Judith Ivey) is the more grounded sister. Or is she?Together, they run the bed and breakfast with the help of a hunky handyman and childhood friend, Etienne (Benjamin Mouton), who is sweet on Lucy, despite Charlotte's watchful eye. Charlotte also has someone sweet on her, the local sheriff, Cleve Doucet (Dennis Lipscomb), whom she is on the verge of losing, because for some inexplicable reason she refuses to marry him. One day, Matt Rutledge (Eric Stolz) arrives at the Bonnard bed and breakfast, where he is to be a guest. He, too, seems smitten by the lovely, ethereal Lucy, much to Charlotte's consternation and Etienne's annoyance.What follows is a series of macabre events, fueled by secrets of the past and misguided perceptions. While the plot is engaging, parts of it are a little over the top. Still, it is so well done that it keeps the viewer riveted to the screen. Terrific performances are given by all, with those of Jennifer Jason Leigh and Benjamin Mouton being especially fine. The ending is also particularly memorable. Shrouded in the mists of the Louisiana bayou, it is a vindication of Lucy's visions and a fitting memoriam to love everlasting. This is a film well worth viewing. Those who enjoyed that other southern gothic, "The Gift", will, undoubtedly, enjoy this one, as well."
And the dead are always with us.
Cinephiliac | Los Angeles, CA | 09/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Sister, Sister" is a stylish and gothic-tinged tale of ghosts, lies, murder and revenge set on the bayou. The film was directed by Bill Condon ("Gods and Monsters") and marked an early writing credit for Joel Cohen.
The beautiful and genteel Bonnard sisters, Lucy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and Charlotte (Judith Ivey), own 'The Willows,' one of those grand dame, antebellum mansions in Louisiana, which they have converted into a bed and breakfast inn after the passing of their parents. The sisters have an outwardly tranquil, if somewhat twisted, symbiotic relationship that has its roots deep in the events of the past.
With the arrival of a new guest, an attractive congressional aide named Matt Routledge (Eric Stoltz), there is an immediate and electric attraction between Matt and Lucy. Lucy is the younger and more emotionally fragile of the sisters--holding the key to the sisters' secretive past. Charlotte's overprotective attitude towards Lucy (which borders on the pathological) ensures Lucy's blunted emotional growth and dependency. As Charlotte tries to insert herself between the lovers, she causes a rift between the sisters that will soon destroy the calm of everyone's lives.
Traditional Zydeco music and a rich film score by Richard Einhorn provides an atmospheric underpinning for the candle lit rooms and beautifully manicured lawns and gazebos. The swamp surrounding the plantation is a fitting metaphor for the duplicity of nearly everyone--with its still black water full of unseen dangers lying just below the surface tension. Nothing in the film is ever quite what it seems to be.
Like the very best ghost stories told around a campfire, "Sister, Sister" relies heavily on atmosphere and mystery--which it has in abundance. The excessive and colorful characters reminded me of those in a Tennessee Williams' play and the talented actors fleshed out their various roles with interest. Everywhere you look in this film there is natural and man-made beauty, and the cinematography is nothing short of spectacular.
It has been many years since I visited the South, but this is the Louisiana of my memory: Beautiful, graceful, secretive and inexorably tied to its past--much like the Bonnard sisters."