Saturday, May 20, 2017

Ms. Hen reviews LITTLE SISTER

Directed by Zach Clark

Ms. Hen knew nothing about this film before she watched it. She watched it because it was recommended to her on Netflix, and this film gave her déjà vu of something she has seen or lived before.

This is a movie about a young novitiate nun, Colleen, aka Sister Joan of Arc, a member of the Sisters of Mercy order in New York City. (The Sisters of Mercy are also a post-punk band from the eighties and nineties. Ms. Hen thought this was funny, and she decided it was meant to be funny, as she continued to watch the film.)

The story propels when Colleen get an email from her mother to tell her that her brother is back from fighting in Iraq, and his face is disfigured.. Colleen thinks she needs to go home to see her brother, so she asked the Mother Superior to let her borrow the car.

One of the funniest scenes in the movie is in the beginning, when Colleen goes to a club to see a friend perform. She’s a nun in a club, and coming out of the bathroom some women try to talk to her. One of the other humorous pieces in this film is when Colleen is trying to cheer her brother up by lip-synching, “Have You Seen Me?” by GWAR. Ms. Hen doesn’t remember the last time she was so dazzled by a funny moment in a film.

This is a story about a dysfunctional family that loves each other no matter what. Ally Sheedy as the mother is brilliant, she is unstable, smokes pot, and disturbs her daughter and her son, and the son’s fiancée. Colleen is confused by her mother’s behavior, but Colleen cannot do anything to change her, because she has found God, and has to do her work.

This is not a film where the protagonist finds love and lives happily ever after, rather it’s about finding the love of her family. She loves her brother, and she wants him to be happy. In between the story, there are bits of home video of the two when they are young and having fun, making up stories and playing.

Ms. Hen got the idea that if this film was made in the 1990s, Winona Ryder would play Colleen. It’s exactly the type of role that she would play, a young woman who is lost, but with a dark sense of humor. There were parts of the film in which the actress, Addison Timlin, reminded Ms. Hen of Winona Ryder’s character in BEETLEJUICE.

Oh, and the chickens! There are some fabulous chickens in LITTLE SISTER. There are two points in the film where Colleen sees chickens, and when she goes to a farm, she exclaims, “Chickens!” Ms. Hen’s favorite chicken scene was when Colleen is driving and has done drugs and hallucinates that her brother’s fiancée was a chicken sitting next to her in the car before they crashed into a tree.

Ms. Hen doesn’t think nuns are positively portrayed in American films these days. She does like CALL THE MIDWIFE, but that’s British, and it's television. Ms. Hen thinks this film could bring a new light to nuns in America. Ms. Hen has known some nuns; most of them are strange, and singular-minded, but kind.

Ms. Hen thinks this film is excellent, and she is happy she watched it. She thinks there might be hope for American independent cinema after watching this. She doesn’t like a lot of American films, because they can be so formulaic, and homogenized, but this film is not. Say yes to LITTLE SISTER, and understand why Ms. Hen loves it.

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