Sisters & Brothers
The much-too-early death of Glee star Cory Monteith, who plays a pampered movie star here, casts a tragic pall over this tiny indie drama which is being released a couple of years after its filming. I am not sure if the timing is just really bad, or if the unexpected death was the thing that brought this title back to light after a couple of years of obscurity. Either way, the spectre of Monteith’s passing sadly overwhelms the quirky dynamic of this trifle of an ensemble drama about sibling relationships. Every time Monteith appears on screen, it is a reminder of a promising talent squandered to drugs (though, honestly, the character is not all that much of a stretch for him.) When Monteith is not on screen (and, like all of the characters in this episodic drama, he’s only onscreen about a quarter of the running time), the audience is awaiting his return, for better or worse.
Is it fair to Sisters & Brothers that it ends up being viewed through the prism of this tragic death? Undoubtedly not. However, it is noticeable that the movie is far from being good enough to distract us from that fact. Perhaps, if the four storylines here were intriguing enough, we may forget when he is not on film. However, while taken on normal circumstances Sisters & Brothers would be a marginally intriguing if very uneven ensemble piece, now it is an intriguing if very uneven ensemble piece that is one of the final films released starring a beloved, promising new actor who died too young. It’s a subtle distinction, but it is one that does the movie no favors, other than perhaps ramping up audience interest.
Sisters & Brothers is the latest film by writer/director Carl Bessai, who seems to specialize in films about familial relationships. (Previous movies include Fathers & Sons and Mothers & Daughters.)
It is actually not so much one film as four short intercut films about siblings in the midst of massive squabbles.