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A young girl on her way to being a nun decides to visit her family and try to reconcile with them after a three-year absence.
Characters & Story
Colleen (Addison Timlin)
It has been three years since Colleen left home to become a nun in New York. But with her final vows approaching, her mother superior recognizes something is off. For while Colleen, thus far, has been an excellent nun and has done the community service without complaints, she seems bored by their lifestyle. So, in order to give Colleen the chance to really think things over before her final vows, she gives her 5 days to handle her business. Leading Colleen to return home and see her brother Jacob once more, and deal with the person perhaps most hurt from her abrupt leaving – her mother.
Jacob (Keith Poulson)
As tall as the Undertaker and with a burnt face reminiscent of Deadpool, Jacob seems to have become a serious homebody. One that rarely wishes to go outside and basically drums away all his frustrations. Yet, despite him ostracizing himself, partly due to health reasons mind you, his fiancée Tricia (Kristin Slaysman) remains. But as Colleen returns, we notice that perhaps Jacob and Tricia’s days may be numbered if something doesn’t change soon.
Joani (Ally Sheedy)
Joani had children thinking it would make her more of an adult, focus her, but all it ended up doing was stressing her out. To the point, she made the type of decision which, in a combination of what happened to her brother, who was just returning from Iraq, to what Joani did, it drove Colleen away.
I didn’t get that moment […] where everything was just suddenly okay. I don’t think those moments exist. I think all you can do is keep trying and hope that somehow trying can be good enough.
— Little Sister
My Big Brother
Honestly, the sole highlight is the relationship between Colleen and Jacob. Despite Jacob’s relationship with Tricia, and his parents being only a couple of minutes away, only Colleen seems capable of getting him back to being around the public. Which she does with such care that it really builds off all the home movies we see establishing their relationship. And praise be to Timlin for usually when chemistry is mentioned, at least with me, it is about a romantic relationship. Yet Timlin provides an alternative. Her chemistry with Poulson, as brother and sister, seems to genuine. Be it her worries, her hopes for him, or doing whatever it takes for the sound of her brother’s laugh is one of her most favorite things in the world.
Lacked Emotional Gut Punch
Let me admit that I’ve been tired the last few days and perhaps that is why I’ve been feeling almost indifferent to stuff posted over the last week. Yet, at the same time, as noted in the past, when you watch so many movies, TV shows, see a few plays, read so many books and play a handful of games, your expectations for what can qualify as good, fresh, new, comical, and etc., raise more and more. So with a movie like this, featuring an Iraq veteran with a severely burned face who is avoiding the public for fears of being watched or because CNN is harassing his family for an interview, you’d think there would be more there. Again, like with Len and Company, there is no expectations or even need for being over dramatic, but there is just this sense of numbness which isn’t talked about or explored which leaves the most interesting thing about the character being the makeup to make his face look like that.
Then with Joani, she is the reason Colleen left. Heck, with Colleen pretty much only being affected by her presence, since with Jacob she sees nothing but her big brother no matter what, she was the source of two people’s opportunity to create something. However, while Joani is a bit off, she almost comes off as more comically erratic than how Sally in Hurry Down Sunshine seems (review coming soon so that the reference makes sense). What I mean by this is, she is damaged by failed expectations, you can see that, but the way she copes is by sometimes seeming silly and that takes away from the seriousness of her past action. On top of that the way Sheedy plays her, while I’m sure not her intention, it makes for an experience where it is like she can’t balance a woman who essentially wants to be friends with her kids for the responsibility of being their mom is too much for her.
Overall: On The Fence (Home Viewing)
In no way is Little Sister a bad movie, it is just another one which doesn’t have that extra oomph to make it stand out. For even with the inclusion of a young woman becoming a nun, a mother with mental health issues, and a brother who is a badly burned Iraq vet, nothing is done much with these people. Something I could argue is because they don’t want to sensationalize their lives, sort of how Loving seems to be written and performed (Links to an interview). However, being that these actors don’t have that type of charisma and screen presence to make a movie without dramatics interesting, that lack of compensation leaves you with a dull experience.