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Has fine moments, but overall a disappointment

4/10
Author: Thomas (filmreviews@web.de) from Berlin, Germany
14 May 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"My sister's secret" is basically a very generic movie with a story that has been done so many times already. The lead character finds out that her sister dies and suddenly she is in custody of her niece. The two do not get along at all initially (as always), but get closer as the film continues. It is an 8-year-old television movie that runs for 90 minutes. Sägebrecht ("Out of Rosenheim") plays her usual shtick as a kind-hearted woman who always wants the best for everybody and neglects her own interests a bit during all that sacrifice. If you have seen Sokurov's Faust, you have seen the actress who plays the girl here.

The film's director is pretty experienced, the writer does not have a career that long although she has been very prolific in recent years. For me, the best thing about this film were all the animals I guess. There is basically everything in here that you would expect on a farm plus many dogs as Sägebrecht's character takes care of dogs who struggle with their owners and tries to get them to behave better. And then there is more of the usual. The daughter runs away from her aunt and everybody is worried, but of course she is safe in the end and Sägebrecht also finds a new love etc. All very generic. The only exception to me was Walter Kreye. His character was probably the comedic highlight of the movie and it would have been a worse movie without him. But it's still not a good movie with him. Not recommended.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Another brilliant performance from Marianne Sägebrecht

4/10
Author: coyets from Hamburg, Germany
8 May 2007

Once again, a subtle but moving portrayal by Marianne Sägebrecht, this time playing Antonia Wiedemann, turns an otherwise rather dull story at least into a film worth watching. Antonia Wiedemann is just the sort of character that Marianne Sägebrecht is particularly good at bringing to life. She is disappointed in love, divorced, but sufficiently open to be seen as the warm person inside. When her sister dies, and she becomes the guardian of her 13-year-old niece, Lisa, of whom she had no knowledge, her world changes dramatically. Unfortunately, and in contrast to Marianne Sägebrecht, the actors playing the other main characters portray each one in a too stereotyped fashion. Antonia's arrogant former husband, Ludwig Meyer, played by Walter Kreye, displays too few redeeming features of his character, so that his appearance becomes somewhat too comical for the story. Her suitor, Rafael Hansen, played by Siegfried Rauch, is somewhat too passive, and Lisa Wiedemann, played by Isolda Dychauk, displays little interest for events around her, which is typical for her age group, but this is rather overdone. These three seemed to need a more talented director.

For animal lovers, many interactions between humans and quadrupeds are integrated into the unfolding of the tale.

There are some nice ideas which help the story of human interaction along and contribute to this film being better than many tired offerings of its genre. The subplot of determining the identity of Lisa's father is developed in a particularly fascinating way. The interesting twists continued right to the end, and fitted the tale perfectly.

The scenery and camera-work, on the other hand, did not even manage to convey the contrast between Hamburg and the rural setting where most of the story takes place. Hamburg is a very green and spread out city, but the drama would surely have been heightened by rather more bustle.

It is certainly worth watching, but could have been even better.

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