By Hemanth Kissoon
A cross between a Dardennes brothers film and THE GRIFTERS, and that’s a good thing. Simon (Kacey Mottet Klein) is 12 years old and a thief. He steals from the wealthy at a ski resort in order that he and his sister, Louise (Léa Seydoux), can have enough money to eat. Louise is in her late twenties, but avoids any responsibilities in looking after him. Simon says their parents are dead. They live in a small apartment. The focus of the film is Simon, and Klein delivers, turning in a gripping performance as a ridiculously resourceful and charismatic kid. For all his toughness and savvy, one of the most memorable scenes is him paying Louise to allow him to sleep in the same bed and hug him – it is heartbreaking. Director Ursula Meier maintains a thorough tension, as we worry at Simon’s fate: Will he be abandoned? Taken into care? Beaten to a pulp for stealing? Have his spirit broken? SISTER is about survival (in many senses), parenting, and class. Well paced throughout until the conclusion, which doesn’t seem to know how to end. Also, an extended cameo from Gillian Anderson feels incongruous; maybe Meier is an X-FILES fan?