Review: ‘Sisters & Brothers’

Cinematographer-writer-director Carl Bessai's "Sisters & Brothers" programmatically cuts across four sets of siblings, all in crisis, none of them particularly interesting, dramatic or amusing.

Completing the circle after previous ensemblers “Mothers & Daughters” and “Fathers & Sons,” cinematographer-writer-director Carl Bessai’s “Sisters & Brothers” programmatically cuts across four sets of siblings, all in crisis, none of them particularly interesting, dramatic or amusing. A comicbook visual motif linking storylines doesn’t fit with the tone of the writing and acting, which is definitely not comicbook in attitude. Failure to quite click on any level will certainly hobble the pic’s commercial prospects, despite headlining “Glee” heartthrob Cory Monteith.

Hollywood star Justin (Monteith) welcomes do-gooder bro Rory (Dustin Milligan) to his beach pad; schizophrenic Jerry’s (Benjamin Ratner) constantly changing moods stress out sis Louise (Gabrielle Miller); aspiring actor Nikki (Amanda Crew) swallows big phony Henry’s (Tom Scholte) pitch for a new female action role, and drives to Los Angeles with Henry and her colossally sour sis Maggie (Camille Sullivan); bratty teen Sarah (Kacey Rohl) discovers that her space-cadet mom (Bessai regular Gabrielle Rose) has a daughter (Leena Manro) from an ashram fling in India. The writing, as well as the pic’s tendency to wrap things up in a neat package, plays like formulaic TV.

Sisters & Brothers



A Cross Country Releasing release of a Raven West Films/Pacific Northwest Pictures presentation. (International sales: Myriad Pictures, Los Angeles.) Produced by Emily Alden, Carl Bessai, James Brown. Executive producers, Laura Lightbown, Zanna Devine, Kirk D'Amico. Directed, written by Carl Bessai.


Camera (color, HD), Bessai; editor, Sabrina Pitre; music, Dan Moxon; music supervisor, Andrea von Foerster. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema), Sept. 11, 2011. Running time: 86 MIN.


Cory Monteith, Dustin Milligan, Amanda Crew, Gabrielle Miller, Kacey Rohl, Benjamin Ratner, Camille Sullivan, Gabrielle Rose, Leena Manro, Tom Scholte.

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