Film Review: My Little Sister

STUDIO: Film Movement | DIRECTOR: Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond | CAST: Nina Hoss, Lars Eidinger, Marthe Keller
RELEASE DATE: April 13, 2021 | PRICE: DVD $24.99
BONUSES: video intro by filmmakers, bonus short film Three Deaths
SPECS: NR | 100 min. | Drama | 1.85:1 widescreen | stereo | German, French and English  with English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall 

One of two international productions starring Germany’s Nina Hoss that have made some ripples in the U.S. over the past year (virtual ripples, which is no small feat during this COVID-drenched era), 2020’s My Little Sister was Switzerland’s submission for Best International Feature Film for this year’s Academy Awards.

The film finds Ms. Hoss portraying a successful playwright who puts her own agenda aside to care for her twin brother, a well-regarded actor who’s terminally ill. Simply told and engrossing, it’s a straight-forward, finely detailed tale about a modern woman, a creative and successful one, and how she navigates through the dictates of her career, her family life as a wife and mother, and the immediate demands of being a caretaker to her beloved twin. It’s the kind of film that would be slotted as a “women’s melodrama” if it was made in Hollywood, but in the hands of young Swiss writer/directors Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond, it’s low-key, realistic and very telling study, filled with the quiet strength and sensitivity for which its leading lady is known. In Lisa’s dealing with the increasingly difficulty of her day-to-day life, much of which she knows will end sadly, Ms. Hoss’s crafts a seamless, layered portrait of an adult life and the frustrations, anxiety, denial and acceptance that accompany it.  And she’s outstanding.

Nina Hoss’s other film to be released here this year is Ina Weisse’s 2019 The Audition, wherein she serves up just the right dose of intelligent frazzle as a violin teacher at a German music-oriented high school who causes problems for herself and her family by taking on a questionably promising new student. The movie is a bit thin, but Hoss is excellent.

I’ve only seen a dozen or so of her nearly 30 films (including most of her half-dozen collaborations with Berlin School filmmaker Christian Petzold), but at this point, for me, Nina Hoss appears to be incapable of a bad performance.

Buy or Rent My Little Sister

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.