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The Other Sister

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Other Sister

Starring: Juliette Lewis, Diane Keaton
Director: Garry Marshall
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 131 Minutes
Release Date: February 1999
Genres: Comedy, Drama

*Also starring: Tom Skerritt, Giovann Ribisi, Hector Elizondo, Joanna Going

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Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

"Pretty Woman" director Garry Marshall has struck gold, once again, with this fresh, engaging, provocative story of a mentally challenged young woman (Juliette Lewis) who returns from ten years of confinement in a special school determined to lead an independent life, much to the chagrin of her guilty, indulgent father (Tom Skerritt) and smothering, over-protective mother (Diane Keaton). When she falls in love with a similarly impaired man (Giovanni Ribisi) and demands her own apartment, their concern turns to absolute panic, as the story revolves around the parental dilemma of what to do when a child with special needs becomes an adult. Juliette Lewis is magnificently vibrant and totally captivating as the defiantly spunky woman whom her doctor describes as "pushing the edge of the envelope." And Giovanni Ribisi is endearingly vulnerable as a man besotted by marching bands, yet haunted by taunts of "retard." Having never dated - with only the sketchiest knowledge of sex - their romance is innocently awkward, painfully poignant, and hilariously funny. "I wonder who thought up sex in the first place," she muses in one cleverly comical scene. "I think it was Madonna," he answers, quite seriously. As co-writer with Bob Brunner, Gary Marshall's sensitivity is apparent, allowing the audience to enjoy and empathize with these two young people who embark on a challenging journey of self-discovery. The only weakness of the film lies with the cliche'd writing of the parents' roles and the so-called "normal " sisters: one engaged, the other a lesbian. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Other Sister" is an exuberant, life-affirming 9. It's a charming, delightful, bittersweet and most unusual love story.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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