The Other Sister

Warm-hearted but ultimately soft, this film chronicles the journey of a slightly mentally challenged woman toward personal fulfillment and love. Born into a wealthy San Francisco family headed by control freak Elizabeth (Diane Keaton) and recovering alcoholic Radley (Tom Skerritt), Carla Tate (Juliette Lewis) comes home after spending years at a school...read more

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Reviewed by Sandra Contreras
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Warm-hearted but ultimately soft, this film chronicles the journey of a slightly mentally challenged woman toward personal fulfillment and love. Born into a wealthy San Francisco family headed by control freak Elizabeth (Diane Keaton) and recovering

alcoholic Radley (Tom Skerritt), Carla Tate (Juliette Lewis) comes home after spending years at a school for retarded children. She has two blandly normal sisters, Caroline (Poppy Montgomery) and Heather (Sarah Paulson), who are utterly interchangeable until a lesbian subplot surfaces to

distinguish them. Intent on making amends for sending Carla away, Elizabeth turns on the smother love full force. But the strong-willed Carla has her own ideas: She wants to enroll at a community college and become a veterinarian's assistant. With Radley's help, she overcomes Elizabeth's

objections. At school, Carla meets Danny (Giovanni Ribisi); he's also developmentally disabled, but lives on his own and holds two jobs. Predictably, their friendship blossoms into love and Elizabeth disapproves. Once again, Radley supports Carla's ambitions, which include moving into her own

apartment; this time Caroline and Heather join forces with him. Lewis, Ribisi and Keaton are fine actors, and when the film confronts head on the often painful questions about parenting and personal autonomy that surround mentally disabled adults, they rise to the material. But director Garry

Marshall's sitcom-based style, while not as contemptuously sappy as it was in BEACHES, seems more suited to a cable movie than a theatrical release. And attempting to force the story into a romantic comedy template compels him to gloss over the disturbing aspects his characters' disabilities,

frequently forcing Ribisi and Lewis to act the part of noble fools. The sight of a grown man in a dog suit, curled up in the fetal position and bawling ain't pretty. But then, it shouldn't be.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: Warm-hearted but ultimately soft, this film chronicles the journey of a slightly mentally challenged woman toward personal fulfillment and love. Born into a wealthy San Francisco family headed by control freak Elizabeth (Diane Keaton) and recovering alcoh… (more)

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