Synopsis

Young nun Colleen is avoiding all contact from her family, returning to her childhood home in Asheville NC, she finds her old room exactly how she left it: painted black and covered in goth/metal posters.

Director

Zach Clark

Cast

Addison Timlin
as Colleen Lunsford
Ally Sheedy
as Joani Lunsford
Keith Poulson
as Jacob Lunsford
Peter Hedges
as Bill Lunsford

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by rooprect N/A

A great satire, minus the satire

Roger Ebert had a great line describing the feel of this movie. After quoting a piece of wacky dialogue (talking about lesbian Satanism), Ebert said: "It's a powerful indication of just how well Little Sister works that the above exchange does not come off as 'quirky,' or 'kooky,' or a 'black comedy' ba-dumb-ching punchline."

That's what I mean in the title of this review. Although you'd think the story is poised to be a thick satire, it's not. And that's what makes it unique and effective. I mean with a plot about an ex-goth girl becoming a nun whilst reconnecting with her brother who came back from the war in Iraq and her stoner parents in a small town in North Carolina, you'd think this could be every bit as cheeky as Edward Scissorhands without the scissors. But instead, director Zach Clark chose to play it straight.

The result is a film that might not be as laugh-out-loud funny or bizarre as it could be, but in its place we get a serious message that we can apply to our lives. I won't tell you what that message is, but if you watch the movie then pay attention to Ally Sheedy's (the mom) monologue near the end which ties everything together and drives the point home.

Gosh well I just made this movie sound as dry as a nun's gusset. But no, it's actually interesting and had a few moments of classic humor. One such moment happens when the girl, all gothed up, and her brother, disfigured from the war, are walking in the woods when they come up on a young kid who stares at them and asks "are you monsters?" Awkward silence is followed by the brother shrugging and saying matter-of-factly, "yeah."

It's this sort of subtle humor with serious meaning that carries the film all the way through. So, as Roger Ebert said, don't expect a lot of zingers because this movie is pretty subtle.

Something worth mentioning is the odd soundtrack composed of a lot of drum solos and 80s alt-metal/punk bands like GWAR ("Have You Seen Me"), Christian Death ("Romeo's Distress") and Kitchen & the Plastic Spoons ("Happy Funeral"). The use of obscure cult classics reminded me of the films "Pump Up the Volume" and "Empire Records", two other great films that have a similar vibe to Little Sister, that is, a wacky plot but played mostly on a serious level to keep things real.

Acting is excellent all around with a notable performance by Ally Sheedy who plays a dysfunctional mom who could easily be the grown up version of her iconic character in "The Breakfast Club" (1985). Cinematography is interesting, beginning with conservative shots & reality (hand held camera), but as the plot gets weirder so does the camera, bringing us to a bizarre Halloween climax that could've easily been shot by Tim Burton. Little Sister is totally worth the price of admission and I'll probably be watching it a 2nd time. So I guess you could say this nun flick is habit forming. (How's that for a ba-dumb-ching)

Reviewed by erwinh993 8 /10

Worth your 90 minutes, easy.

Great movie! A young nun (Addison Timlin) comes home after years of avoiding contact and tries to reconnect with her family. The simple plot is justified by the most relatable thing for any human which is how to spend your life.

I am an atheist, but grew up a Christian and will always love the great morals an values that come with the religion. I often wish I could believe in god and feel part of a powerful community that's out there to do good, but I've spend too much time hating on the dark cynical stuff of organized religions. I have come to see most of them as great money scheme's.

This movie called Little Sister made me totally forget about the cynical stuff for a while. It's just simply being part of something good that makes you motivated to do good and ultimately make you feel good about yourself. This movie tackles this feeling in different ways than just religion. I had a sense that the movie put the same feeling on a lot of things in life like going in the army, being a parent or even joining a terrorist group that fights for a cause you believe in. I am just speculating but that's how it translated to me.

There you go, a simple movie about a young nun coming home for the first time in years and it still gave me all the good and bad feelings where it needed to and even gave me some stuff to think about. All the actors are very entertaining and believable, but the lead actress Addison Timlin who plays the nun totally steals the show. A beautiful actress that can tell a story with her face. I loved it.

I definitely recommend this movie. Even if this is normally not your cup of tea, I would still give it a try. It's just 90 minutes and flows by even faster by great editing. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Final Rating: (8/10)

Reviewed by larrys3 5 /10

Certainly Has Its Moments

Set in 2008, this indie is more of a relationship drama than a comedy, and is filled with lots of imperfect characters. It's a quiet movie where for the most part the characters come off as real persons. However, in my opinion, not everything works here and, at times, the movie seems to veer off into places it didn't need to go to be effective.

Addison Timlin is terrific in the lead role of Colleen, who's a nun novitiate in a Brooklyn convent. She's temporarily traveling home to Asheville, N.C., after a 3 year absence, at the request of her mother Joani (Ally Sheedy). Sheedy plays up to the hilt her role of the disturbed and drug taking mom.

The principal reason for Colleen's return home is to emotionally support her brother Jacob, most ably portrayed by Keith Poulson, who has been severely disfigured by a bomb blast while serving as a Marine in the war. Now, Jacob is extremely isolative and depressed and is suffering both physically and mentally. Thus, the remainder of the film will center on Colleen's attempts to help her brother, remembrances of her goth past, as well as trying to interact and cope with the remainder of her dysfunctional family,

All in all, this indie, written and directed, by Zach Clark, certainly has its moments, but I felt, as mentioned, it was too overloaded with on screen drug use and at times veered "off the tracks". Therefore, I would say despite its uplifting ending this was a mixed bag for me.

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