- Me and My Sister (2004) movie review: Centered on two middle-aged sisters’ exceptionally dysfunctional relationship, Alexandra Leclère’s feature film debut is an odd – and at times unsettling – comedy/drama mix. What makes it eminently recommendable are its two stars, Isabelle Huppert and Catherine Frot, both delivering pitch-perfect tragicomic performances as the two pathological title characters.
Me and My Sister movie: Outstanding Isabelle Huppert & Catherine Frot in uneasy ‘dysfunctional siblings’ comedy-drama
Screenwriter-director Alexandra Leclère’s feature film debut, Me and My Sister / Les soeurs fâchées (literally, “The Angry Sisters”) spends a little too much time in its a-tad-too-bipolar portrayal – now you laugh, now you gasp – of the relationship between two middle-aged sisters, Louise and Martine. The former is psychotically nice, the latter is just plain psychotic.
On the sunny side, Me and My Sister does boast several effective comic moments, while Leclère’s screenplay offers some worthy insights into the lifelong psychological wounds suffered by the children of alcoholics – only fleetingly camouflaged while watching real-life sisters Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac perform “Chanson des Jumelles” in Jacques Demy’s 1967 musical The Young Girls of Rochefort.
Most impressive of all, however, are the film’s two stars. Me and My Sister might have become a dramatically disjointed mess if it weren’t for the first-rate work of Catherine Frot as the small-town hick Louise, in Paris to (hopefully) sign a contract with a book publisher, and Isabelle Huppert as the Parisianized Martine, entangled in marital problems (with François Berléand, recently seen in The Chorus) and in an all-consuming existential crisis.
Veteran actresses in top form
In movies for more than three decades, Best Actress Prix César winner Isabelle Huppert (La Cérémonie, 1995) delivers a spot-on performance as the unhinged psycho sib. Her Martine is sour, rude, pushy, abusive – yet without ever coming across as an unwatchable, repulsive wench.
Huppert’s effectiveness is no miracle. Instead, it’s the result of a carefully modulated characterization – tragic, comic, frightful, captivating – by a talented, experienced actress in top form.
Less well known internationally though in movies for nearly a quarter of a century, Catherine Frot (Mon Oncle d’Amérique, Vieille canaille) is the one who nearly steals the show in a role perhaps even more difficult than Huppert’s: the goody-goody country bumpkin who is disrespected, yelled at, and slapped around, all the while emanating sweetness and light – yet without ever coming across as an unwatchable, repulsive jackass.
Frot’s is a truly masterful (co-)star turn and one of the two great reasons – the other being her aforementioned on-screen sibling – that make Me and My Sister a must-see.
Me and My Sister / Les soeurs fâchées (2004)
Director & Screenwriter: Alexandra Leclère.
Cast: Isabelle Huppert. Catherine Frot. François Berléand. Brigitte Catillon. Michel Vuillermoz. Christiane Millet. Rose Thiéry. Bruno Chiche. Jean-Philippe Puymartin.
Cinematography: Michel Amathieu. Film Editing: Hervé de Luze & Jacqueline Mariani. Music: Philippe Sarde. Production Design: Carlos Conti. Producer: Philippe Godeau.
“Me and My Sister Movie” notes
Wall mirror reveals major goof
In one heavily dramatic sequence, François Berléand is seen screaming at unresponsive wife Isabelle Huppert. Lying in bed, Huppert is supposed to convey both anger and ennui.
Yet at one point, through her reflection in a wall mirror, the actress can be clearly seen cracking up.
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Me and My Sister movie reviewed at the Colcoa French Film Festival (website).
Me and My Sister movie cast and crew info via the Cinémathèque Française’s Ciné-Ressources and other sources.
Catherine Frot and Isabelle Huppert Me and My Sister movie image: Pan Européenne Production.
“Me and My Sister Movie: Isabelle Huppert + Catherine Frot as Gloriously Psychotic Siblings” last updated in December 2020.