The Other Sister
Reviewed by: Debbie Blanton
Older Teen to Adult
This was a very uplifting and refreshing romantic comedy. To be honest, it was better than I thought it was going to be. I went in expecting a good movie and got a GREAT one instead. I had so much fun at this movie because it offered a little bit of everything. In some ways it was a serious movie and yet it had some very funny moments intertwined.
The story starts with 24-year-old Carla Tate (Juliette Lewis) who is a slightly mentally challenged young woman who comes home after many years of special education at a private boarding school. This strong young woman has successfully transcended many of her limitations—except her overprotective mother, Elizabeth (Diane Keaton). Carla’s need for personal fulfillment begins to express itself in ways her mother is unable to accept. When she falls in love for the first time, Carla defies her mother in order to prove that despite all appearances she has the capacity to be a responsible adult, worthy of loving and being loved. Carla and her boyfriend Danny (Giovanni Ribisi) set out together to find answers to some of life’s toughest challenges, and to prove that sometimes, an ordinary life can be an extraordinary achievement.
Surprisingly, this movie only contained 2 uses of mild language (neither were uses of God’s name in vain). There was no actual nudity (except for a picture that is briefly shown from the book The Joy of Sex) and there are 2 brief scenes which show 2 different women in their underwear. There are also a couple of discussions about sex, one of which is between Carla and her mother where Carla gives details about what she was taught in school about what sex is. Carla and her boyfriend openly discuss sex as well and even discuss use of protection. Coming from these 2 characters I didn’t find any offense in the discussions on sex because of their “innocence” about it and the fact that they were discussing with each other and learning about it. There IS, however, implied sex between these 2 characters. Carla has a sister who is gay and there is a very brief scene that shows her sister’s girlfriend asleep in her bed.
This movie was very entertaining to watch. I found myself laughing all through the movie as well as crying during some of the serious moments. I personally recommend this movie because I believe it can give us all a better appreciation for those who are mentally challenged and teach us how to help them and not place unnecessary judgments on their abilities to function in this world. However, do take caution due to the sexual situations presented in the film.
Year of Release—1999