60 user 2 critic

Riding the Bus with My Sister (2005)

A woman spends time with her developmental disabled sister after the death of their father.



(book), (teleplay)
2 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Beth Simon
Rachel Simon
Peter Cockett ...
Diane Bald ...
Art Dealer


A woman spends time with her developmental disabled sister after the death of their father.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis







Release Date:

1 May 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hallmark Hall of Fame: Riding the Bus with My Sister (#54.3)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This movie was referenced in S6E4 of The Gilmore Girls. Lorelai was sorting through her VHS collection and explaining to Luke that you just needed to watch it with "someone ... someone else" referring to Rory. Later Lorelai pulls the tape out prior to calling her estranged daughter. See more »


When Beth and Rachel are grocery shopping, there are cans of soda in the shopping cart. Cut to the next scene when Rachel puts groceries into her trunk, there were no soda cans in the cart and none were put in the trunk before Rachel shut it and got into the car. See more »


Beth Simon: Love just happens.
See more »


Featured in Gilmore Girls: Always a Godmother, Never a God (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

a total contrived aberration of a TV movie, not because of its sincerity, but...well, maybe that is a big part of it
7 June 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Riding the Bus with My Sister is a shameless attempt to put up such an insane sequence of events into a two-hour-plus-commercials time slot to total up to this: Beth (Rosie O'Donnell) is inspiring and courageous and livens up those lives of people around her, and anyone who doesn't see otherwise can shove it. But the opposite is true, particularly due to the performance, though the writing doesn't help. It's not within the power of a filmmaker to make something that doesn't draws the viewer compassionately in, as LONG AS it doesn't try and think the viewers themselves are, to use the word bluntly, retarded. But Angelica Huston, who doesn't seem to do her late-father proud when it comes to taking the director's chair, plops on the sentiment when really what is being revealed is the wildly contrived story of a control freak who's mean and annoying and, at the end of it all, unsympathetic. This might be passing a lot of judgment on O'Donnell's character, who was based on a real person, but it's not without some notice. Beth might be one of the most irritating characters in recent memory, in TV or elsewhere.

This doesn't mean some (totally unintentional) laughs aren't to be had at the expense of the totally dingbat turn from O'Donnell. Maybe it's method, maybe it's just playing it in a very horrific one-note way, but she doesn't do anything to help make this big goose who doesn't seem to notice that the ones who point out that she's loud and obnoxious might be the correct ones. No, the point of view of the filmmakers control that more than anything, wherein it's all either black or white: either people really respect and care for her (the black tae-kwan-do student who has the Isaac Hayes look is never explained really as to why he's with her aside from 'she makes me laugh, I love her, blah blah'), or they're dismayed by her rude quality, like when she's at the cafeteria the bus drivers are at and, after the umpteenth time she's been there, is yelled at by one of the other drivers to get out as it's the BUS DRIVERS section. It would be one thing if the writer tried to make this as some legitimate dramatic scene, but it's all played up like "people just don't understand," which is accentuated by the whole relationship between the two sisters.

Now, it's not that McDowell doesn't try a little with the part, but what is there to be given to her anyway? Her part is meant as a lazy counterpoint to Beth's half-crazy half-stupid mindset. She's a career woman who is a photographer (not very well apparently, even when she makes "arty" photos in black and white), who puts aside her career, and her boyfriend, to stay with Beth after the death of their father. Rainman, however, this surely is not; the story has very little in the way of actual development, except for the most base and totally, despicably predictable points, with O'Donnell grinding on through in a performance that gives cringe-worthy a bad name (or a good name, I guess). Even the flashbacks are ridiculously inept at showing anything aside from 'I didn't really care for my sister then, and I should've, as it took my father about my entire adolescence to move out of the house', in a gray Flags of Our Fathers tint of course. This is all capped off with a final section where Beth tries to contemplate having children. At this point, against my better judgment, I soldiered on to the end, with rests on a shot of Beth, her sister, and the "hot" bus driver all in a goofy pose.

If you have the guts to go through it, just make sure to know there's many "laughs, tears, hugs, etc", complete with the sappiest guitar pluckings this side of Eric Clapton after watching a puppy die, and an atmosphere of total dread where there should be some rays of happiness for these people for the audience. No such luck; it's a Hallmark movie at its most exploitative.

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