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Sister (2012)
"L'enfant d'en haut" (original title)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  18 April 2012 (France)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 3,442 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 18 user | 113 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

A drama set at a Swiss ski resort and centered on a boy who supports his sister by stealing from wealthy guests.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Mike
...
Kristin Jansen
Jean-François Stévenin ...
Le chef-cuisinier
Yann Trégouët ...
Bruno
Gabin Lefebvre ...
Marcus
Magne-Håvard Brekke ...
Le skieur violent
Simon Guélat ...
L'homme de la Golf
Mike Winter ...
Le skieur aux Dynastar
Yannick Ruiz ...
Saisonnier
Vincent Fontannaz ...
Saisonnier
Alain Börek ...
Saisonnier (as Alain Borek)
Frédéric Mudry ...
Saisonnier (as Fred Mudry)
Ange Ruzé ...
Saisonnier
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Storyline

A drama set at a Swiss ski resort and centered on a boy who supports his sister by stealing from wealthy guests.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

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Release Date:

18 April 2012 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Sister  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The official submission of Switzerland to the Best Foreign Language Film of the 85th Academy Awards 2013. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 2013 Film Independent Spirit Awards (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant, disturbing
8 October 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In Sister, a boy helps he and his sister survive by stealing from rich folks at a posh ski resort in the Swiss Alps. But the boy and his sister are both a bit more than each seems in this provocative psychological, daring thriller from Ursula Meier.

Young Simon (Kacey Mottet Klein) has procured a season pass to a winter ski lodge. Each day, he rides up the giant lifts to the top of the mountain, where he swipes skis, poles, boots, gloves, and other paraphernalia, selling them to the less-fortunate in the town below. He does this to support he and his sister Louise (Lea Seydoux), an unfocused, somewhat-selfish wanderer who appears too have little concern for the well being of herself or for Simon, flitting from job to job and from lover to lover like a forlorn mosquito. So it's entirely up to Simon to keep them afloat, and he's a quick learner. Even at age 12, he can cook and clean and knows ski equipment better than even expert skiers, even though he is no skier himself. He's an entrepreneur, albeit in a dangerous career.

He sells to workers. He sells to kids. He takes advance orders and knows how much to charge. He's not intimidated by anyone. He is, at his tender age, a master thief, knowing where to stow his ill-gotten gains and how best to get them back down the mountain. One can argue that he does what he has to do, since his youth prevents him from getting an authentic job and the adult in the family is wildly undependable. He takes on an apprentice at one point, goes into cahoots with another at a different juncture. But a few of his schemes do not end favorably for him.

Simon is friendless, utterly alone. But his relationship with Louise is quite complicated. There are tender touches. Inappropriate remarks. Lingering glances. Is this simply typical preteen behavior, or something more? With no other friends - and apparently, no school to serve as a social function - Louise is about the only female with whom he interacts on a regular basis.

He meets a visiting family - mom, two boys - at the resort. Mom is kind and buys Simon breakfast, even though he is loaded with cash. They bond a little; she seeing perhaps a lost soul whose story of no parents or siblings isn't ringing true, he seeing a mother figure he desperately desires.

The twist in the movie makes its appearance just about halfway through. It's surprising that it arrives so early, and when it does it passes two crucial tests: it is both out of the blue and completely plausible. The perfect twist.

Obviously, the twist coming so early in the film means that the movie's real enticement comes in this major revelation - well, a revelation to the audience, not to the characters. At first, we're not sure who is telling the truth; are we being snookered? When we discover the answer to that question, the relationship between Louise and Simon takes on a whole new dimension.

Both Klein and Seydoux, playing characters who are almost aggressively opposite from one another, are phenomenal. Simon longs for a better life even as he excels in his current role. Louise, a tragic heroine, is mentally scarred, unsure, unhappy, and besieged by doubt. She seems of no use to him, and yet he pushes hard to make a life for them both.

The ending is one of those that will leave half of the audience wondering if a reel was left off by mistake and the other half nodding appreciatively. It is not a neat ending; it is awash with symbolism of the direction each lead's life is headed. And set against the majestic beauty of the mountains, it is a strong, stark, and beautiful finale.


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