User Reviews (168)

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  • ThEjOkErIsWiLd10 February 2003
    I thought this was a very beautiful and touching film... I can't remember the last time a movie stirred up so many emotions in me all at the same time as this one did. And you know what? I really couldn't care less if this movie portrayed these type of people the "right" way or not (this *is* a fictional piece of work after all) because I saw the ideology behind the movie instead of just the movie itself.

    What I took away with me from this film is that you shouldn't care about what anyone thinks about you, not your mom or your dad or your friends and relatives either, that you should just try and live for the things that you love and enjoy. The way that these two questioned almost everything that was happening to them and listened to their feelings more than their minds made me feel a lot better about the way I think and the way I feel. I love how they aren't burdened by the way they are, they just simply accept it, and I find that beautiful, absolutely uplifting! I've never seen a movie that made me laugh and cry at the same time as many times as this masterpiece did. "Don't be afraid to feel" would be the perfect tagline for this underrated film. Solid story, solid actors.

    My favourite line of the whole movie? When Carla tells her mom "We can take care of each other!" Talk about tears! I'm definitely going to try to find this movie and buy it the next time I'm out and about.

    By the way, in case you were curious, this was just written by a 24 year old straight male. (I'm not afraid of showing my "feminine side", whatever that means.)

    Grade: A+
  • This movie was excellent. The family was well portrayed; from the beginning with the father not wanting to admit his daughter had a disability, to the mother dealing with the guilt of putting her daughter away by trying to make up for it almost a decade later.

    Excellent cast (Lewis, Ribisi, Keaton, Skerritt, etc.) and I loved how the disabled characters were believable. Sometimes movies depicting the disabled are no more than an insult. Lewis and Ribisi were incredibly believable in their roles, actually I had never seen Ribisi in a role previous to this one and - I have to be honest - I really did not think he was 'acting'. I thought the casting director had found someone disabled to fill the role. Once I found out the truth, I thought Ribisi should have been nominated for an Oscar!

    For the person who complained about the other story lines going on in the movie; a movie has to be multi-faceted, otherwise it can become boring. And I don't think the other story lines were too indulgent, they added flavor.

    And a mother that has a child whom she believes she has failed in the past yes, she will be a basket case and indecisive with every step she takes. That's what mothers's the norm.

    Another great movie that was obviously overlooked by Hollywood. (So what else is new?)
  • hickoryou81224 September 2006
    AS a brother of an mentally challenged sister, this movie captures my heart. The innocence and honesty the movie presents through out the film is outstanding. I have been to many functions involving mentally challenged kids and adults from Christmas parties to the Special Olympics. As a volunteer at these events I can speak from experience, that the true feelings were caught in this movie. If you ever lose the Christmas spirit, go to a Christmas event for the mentally challenged. You'll find it there and what the true meaning of the holiday spirit really is. The anticipation of Santa popping through the curtains, just to see his face. The gifts are secondary. The Special Olympics are a true test of the will to compete..NOT WIN. Everybody is a winner at these Olympics. It is the most evened playing field in all of sports. In ability and in the true manner and meaning of what sportsmanship really is.

    The Other sister captures the very true to the core daily lives of mentally challenged individuals. From the emotional outbreaks to the highest of enjoyment of a special moment, to the acceptance by others, to the point of "yes i can if you give me a chance Mother". My sister is living on her own with a roommate and works at Opportunity Enterprises for a living. Leading not only a very normal life, but a far productive environment that wasn't available many years ago. They see things in an honest way. The very things we complain about daily are the same things they wish to be given a chance to have. The portrayal of both Daniel and Carla is just tremendous acting. You just don't throw that together and say cut and print and release this movie. Dustin Hoffman studied for over a year for rain man with savant families. Producers were'nt sure that movie would ever be made because of the tender care Dustin Hoffman had to portray. The Other Sister is a tremendous movie about all the true features that mentally challenged people face and strive for in every day life. We should watch and learn from them. They see life for what it is, things we have forgotten in our material world. Kudos Gary Marshal for this wonderful film. I remember those times, and look forward to the continuing journey.
  • Juliet Lewis shines as 'Carla', a 'backwards' girl returning from special school, who is determined to make her own way in the world. She meets the similarly unique Danny (Ribisi).

    The two soon fall in love, and face a life of difficulty and adversity, both from the 'outside' world because of the way they are, and between one another.

    Lewis is magnificent and convincing, portraying both a young woman in love facing life, and a woman with learning difficulties. Ribisi is just as magnificent as the sensitive Danny.

    Their innocence and forthright honesty on the one hand, will both shock you and disarm you, while the normality of these 'abnormal' people will truly make you rethink your attitude towards those who are not 'like us'.

    I use inverted commas because, with this movie, nothing is certain, and old prejudice is challenged and overcome, as these two beautiful people overcome their adversities.

    This movie will make you laugh, cry, and cheer. It is a romantic comedy par excellence. Even those who dislike most 'Rom-coms' will love this movie.

    Buy it or rent it, but either way see this movie, it will change you deeply.

    10 out of 10
  • I just saw an advance preview screening of this film and must say I really enjoyed it. It is one of those films that critics will say is too much like a tv movie or sitcom material...but you can't help but fall in love with the characters and care about the situations they are put in. The performances are all around sincere and thoughtful. Regardless of what the critics might say...I felt that this movie truly took me into the lives of these people and made me feel for them, and that is what I go to the movies for...
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "I want to live like animals, careless and free."

    If a song ever embodied a movie, Savage Garden's "The Animal Song" serves to define the actions and emotions of the main characters in the movie, Carla and Daniel, two mentally challenged young adults who, finding each other, learn to live life to the fullest while leading each other through it.

    The strength and sweetness of "The Other Sister" can be found in the bravery and certainty that Carla, its main character, approaches life, navigating her way through the film in the manner of someone who knows what she wants out of life and seeks it with a childlike abandon.

    Juliette Lewis does a good job as Carla, the mildly mentally retarded daughter of the Tate's, a rich family that has had the struggle of Carla's handicap and having to send her away to a private, special education school.

    Mrs. Tate, (Diane Keaton), invokes responses on both ends of the spectrum from us, wanting to make up the lost years to Carla, "I'm going to make it up to that girl, Radley, I promise," she says, and an inability to let Carla grow up and be on her own out of fear, and, perhaps, stubbornness.

    Tom Skerrit, as Mr. Tate, does a remarkably good job as a husband living with the past of a drinking problem and inability to be there for Carla as a child- but a man who is certainly there for her now. He champions first her desire to attend a Polytechnic School to get a certificate to be a Veterinarian's Assistant and then to move into her own apartment for the first time in her life. He holds the family together while seemingly apologetic for mistakes he has made in the past.

    Supporting actors add important depth to this touching film. Two sisters line the cast: Heather (Sarah Paulson) and Caroline (Poppy Montgomery), do a good job at adding another layer to the family drama. Caroline is getting married to a fiancée, while Heather, who works in New York, is also seeking affirmation from her mother to acknowledge the fact that she is gay.

    The sisters also act as a moral battleground, stating that Carla be treated as a normal person, and allowed to make to take the same mistakes or risks as ordinary people.

    The crux of the story, and some of the most touching scenes in the film involve the budding romance between Carla and Daniel McMahon, a likewise mentally challenged boy she meets at her school. Part of the charm of their involvement is the childlike innocence with which they treat one another- while, to the rest of the world around them their behavior is awkward or untimely, to each other it is markedly candid, and innocent in a way most adults are not able to achieve.

    Carla becomes a best friend for Daniel, who, unlike her, does not have the support of a loving family. His distant father pays his rent, but is otherwise uninvolved, and all but cuts him off when he fails his class at the polytechnic for the umpteenth time. The only person in his life is Ernie, a handyman at his apartment, who acts as a father and friend but can't give him what Carla does- someone who understands.

    While not as well adjusted as Carla, instead of using this as a plot arc, the film uses it to show the sweetness in Carla and their relationship. She is there for him when he needs her. This is best illustrated in two scenes, the first of which is a dance at the Polytechnic school where Carla finds out she has passed her subject, while Daniel has not. Upset, Daniel breaks down, and then embarrassed, runs from Carla. Against his pleas, Carla, never judgmental, or superior, consoles him by telling him that she learned to take easy subjects first, before you take hard ones in an attempt to cheer him up.

    A second scene is a fight with Carla and her mother, Carla's mother adamant that Daniel is not right for her because "He is the first boy you've met and I think you can do better." Carla's heartfelt explanation as to why this is wrong, "I can't do better because I'm not better," is better understood to explain that she and Daniel are the same, and that she has accepted who she is and that, as she states, "I can't be a painter or a tennis player…but I can love."

    Her point when Carla's mother exclaims that Danny can barely take care of himself, let alone her is poignant. "We can take care of each other," Carla claims in sweetness and loyalty to Daniel, and in a way ignorant that men should take care of women, and in a way that speaks of her and Daniel's friendship, love, and desire to be there for each other in a pure, simplistic way that many of us will never realize.

    Critics of "The Other Sister" cite its oversimplification as a downside, as well as its attempt to make mental retardation seem "cute." But something else exists within this movie that is special- it is the careless innocence and bravery in which Carla treats the world, as though there is nothing in life that is too complicated as long as you follow your heart. The love between Carla and Danny is not clumsy but real- and follows an outline of two real, caring people that have found each other rather then recycled stereotypes of how couples within a relationship should act, so often promoted in media and modern life.
  • SoulRdee3 March 1999
    There are films out there that do not touch people and are just the high action films of the summer. This movie was not a summer film, because "The Other Sister" was a movie to be reckoned with. Many times I have gone to the theater (5x movies a week) and never seen such a movie as this one. I saw an advanced screening of the movie and I also got to see it last weekend. I am absolutely gonna see it this weekend too. It is just a heart warming story that got to me by a lot and has changed my life. I recommend this movie to everybody who knows how love is.
  • grnfroge2 March 1999
    The Other Sister was made in a wonderful way to learn about life of young love for the disabled or not. At first the trailer made me want to see the movie as soon as it opened at the movie theaters. I was not sure why the title was called "The Other Sister" until I read a review. I loved how all the characters meant to one another. The comedy and the tear-jerking made me understand how it is in life. The acting is performed greatly and I hope it will be mentioned in the year 2000 award nominations and winners.
  • I am an avid movie fan. I see one-two movies per week and this is the best one I've seen in a really long time. Juliette Lewis and Giovanni Ribisi both put in fabulous performances, as did Diane Keaton.

    I laughed, cried and waited in anticipation for the next scene. As a mother, I struggled right along with Diane Keaton as to what was really best for her daughter. I saw this movie with my fourteen year old daughter, who was also touched by the portrayals.

    Rarely do I pay full price to see a movie again, but I know I will be taking other people to see this movie. The first being my older daughter who is also striving to gain her independence, but still remain connected to her family.
  • I am not a big movie crybaby kind of person, but this movie really had me going! Not that it was sad, but poignant. I was fully captivated by the complex characters. No one was "good" or "bad," they were all just trying to find their ways through their lives the best they could. It was hard to know how they would react in each situation because they were more true-to-life than we are used to. I haven't been this emotionally involved in a movie for a long time.
  • i don't know who's voting for these movies, but someone needs to wake up! this one was great! it was funny (and i don't mean that in a mocking way) where i didn't expect it to be. all angles of the story were handled well. a great love story, which i didn't expect, and the family issues are very well worked out. i liked how one of the sisters being a lesbian worked into the story, but i didn't like the result of the dispute between the mother and that sister. i thought it happened kind of sudden. but a very minor detail! i loved how the two "disAbled" people were so expressive of what they thought! juliette did a wonderful job of acting when her character got upset. very believable. i'll be looking foreward to seeing you at the academy awards.
  • poostyx30 September 2001
    okay this was a great movie, great acting, great story ... my dad even cried during this movie .. sure my mother cried like always during movies .. but my dad come on.. give this movie a 10 imdb under rated this
  • keepitreal6018 April 2020
    Many tear jerker moments in this film, wonderful work by Lewis and Ribisi now part of my DVD collection.
  • DanielBerardi16 February 2015
    The Graduate is my favourite romantic comedy. The Other Sister is my second favourite. I know that this is a divided movie, but it should not be. This is meant for two purposes: to entertain and to amuse, both of which succeed.

    The Other Sister brings mentally challenged characters to the screen which is a rarity. Almost every time somebody has done a mentally challenged portrayal, they have succeeded to a high degree. Juliette Lewis and Giovanni Ribisi are two of those examples. Lewis was nominated for a Razzie for worst actress and Roger Ebert called the acting by all a big mess. Lewis was an easy target for the Razzie committee, and Ebert's review of this is one of the few he has gotten dead wrong. I consider this to be a loose remake of a 1970's TV movie with Shaun Cassidy and Linda Purl called Like Normal People. That movie had worse acting than this.

    Juliette Lewis plays a mentally challenged young woman named Carla Tate who must deal with her overbearing mother (Keaton). Diane Keaton is a wonderful actress and her performance reminds me of some of my own experiences. Sure her character is unlikeable, but Scarlett O'Hara was unlikeable too. She enrols in a regular school where she meets and falls in love with Daniel McMahon (Ribisi) whose intellect is equal to hers. Carla finally moves into her own apartment, but must face the hard times to come.

    The Other Sister doesn't poke fun at disabilities, it brings light to their independence and shows how cute they can be. Both Lewis and Ribisi are deserving of Oscar wins, especially the latter. I made a list on this site of the greatest acting performances in film history and ranked Ribisi as Daniel at number 18. He was truly robbed. Not only is he a talented actor who can play anything, his saggy eyes made him the only choice for Daniel. He truly looks like he's mentally challenged. Whenever I watch him as another character, I always see and think of Daniel McMahon. Ribisi is a supporting role, but steals the show. Lewis is the star, and she is marvellous. If The Other Sister were a drama, the movie would have been just as good. As a romantic-comedy, it is very lovable and will melt your heart.

  • Warning: Spoilers
    Okay, well I hired this not really expecting much. In fact, I only hired because I found out some of my favourite actors were in it. Overall, it was a cutesy, sweet and at times funny movie that was a bit of a tearjerker. The biggest problem I had was the under-development of pretty much every character except Carla and maybe the parents. With such an awesome supporting cast, the producers should have taken advantage of them. In the effort to develop Carla as the main character, everyone else just fell into the wayside. They became under-developed, under-used and all round, under-appreciated.

    One character in particular that I felt fit this criteria was Jeff Reed, the fiancée of Caroline. His presence provided the perfect opportunity to see Carla from the point of view of an outsider. And it would have been really interesting to see how they interacted, as they had only just met. In the entire movie, they don't even speak to one another except for at the country club after his joke about the wedding being in New Zealand, and she corrects him, but even that moment feels incomplete and an opportunity is missed.

    That is what sums up this movie for me, missed opportunities. A great premise which has somehow collapsed, a fantastic supporting cast that is hugely underused and some great moments that are ruined by amateur directing or editing. With the two mentally retarded characters,the acting is adequate but it just somehow seems to miss the target. Good effort but it all just falls apart.
  • This movie is definitely one of the best movie ive seen thus far. Its a feel good movie, filled with comedy, drama and well... a bit of action. I agree that its probably unrealistic....but, life is already so depressing,so a little pinch of fairytale element is always welcome. I don't think the movie is made for us to laugh at disabled people, it just helps us to know them a bit better, to give them the respect and chance of having a normal life.The acting is excellent, Lewis and Gibsi did a very good job. Also bonus points for keaton. Its a shame that it didn't do very well in the cinemas. But,overall, i think if you have a heart and a sense of humor, you will definitely enjoy this movie. Two thumbs up!
  • peachy-311 November 1999
    This was one of the most offensive movies I've ever seen. I cannot believe other viewers' positive comments. Did anyone over the age of 13 even see this movie? Can't tell it from most of the reviews. They sound like they were written by gushing, easily entertained, not terribly insightful teenyboppers. An Oscar for Lewis? They've got to be kidding. Lewis' portrayal of a mentally retarded girl was so over-exaggerated that I felt embarrassed for the actress and for her character. "Carla" was completely obnoxious, not because she was mentally challenged, but because she was came off as a spoiled brat. And the theme of "Independence". Independence my foot! What is so independent about living in an apartment picked out and paid for by mommy and daddy. And while we are at it, let's get married, and live happily ever after in the $1500 a month (just a guess, based on size and location) apartment, compliments of mommy and daddy, with a $350 month income.

    Diane Keaton's performance was just as bad as Lewis'. She didn't seem focused, I never felt that she cared for her daughter, or liked her daughter. She seemed like she was always on the verge of becoming hysterical. She didn't come off as being sincere.

    I give it a "zero" out of 5 stars. SAVE YOUR MONEY!!!!!!
  • I happen to have a daughter pretty much like Carla. She's been through a huge lot of difficulties all her life, and she never gave up. She's all joy, and love, and innocence, and purity, and strength, and wisdom, pretty much like the character. She's 17 now, next year she'll be graduating from high school at a "regular" school, she's just started a relationship with a boy, and she's so happy... You can imagine how this movie, and especially Juliette's amazing performance, moved me to the core. I watched it last night, and I've been waiting all day for the moment to be able to watch it again. It's a movie I'll treasure, and I sure hope they make a sequel.
  • It is a rare occasion that leads me to want to walk out of a theatre (I actually sat through "Tarzan the Apeman" with Bo Derek), but this movie came close to propelling me into the lobby. The plot (and I use the term lightly) centers on the life and loves by a young "retarded" girl who returns home after having been sent to a 'special school' by her guilt ridden, extremely wealthy parents for several years. In the course of 128 tedious minutes, this girl goes through a number of "challenges", all of which are presented in the most maudlin and melodramatic manner possible.

    The faults of this piece of schlock from Gary Marshall are too numerous to mention, so I'll focus only on those elements, which were most offensive. These include: 1. Fatuous acting by the 2 'retarded' characters, both of whom obviously spent a few days with intellectually challenged individuals, but learned nothing other than the most overt mannerisms. These they portray in a way that would embarrass a first year drama student.

    2. Playing disabilities and intellectual impairments for laughs. Virtually every five to ten minutes there would be an episode where one or other of the 'retarded' characters would engage in some socially unacceptable or embarrassing behavior, invariably presented as funny. There were several young women behind me who erupted in gales of laughter each time one of those crazy 'retards' did another 'cute' thing.

    3. Diane Kenton, whose over the top, hysterical acting as the guilty mother makes us yearn for the subdued and deep performances seen in Something About Mary.

    4. A total ignoring of the real issues faced by the intellectually challenged. These 'retards' are rich, physically attractive, with totally supportive families and oodles of friends. No loneliness, rejection, physical disabilities, or poverty to interfere with the fun.

    4. Lastly, and most damning, is the fact that there was a potential for a real movie that could examine the issues and lives of the intellectually challenged. Any random sample of such people would reveal incredible stories of courage and heartbreak, which are rarely, if ever, heard.

    As someone who has worked extensively with the intellectually impaired, I am offended that such a piece of utter drivel could command the effort and money needed to bring it to the screen. If you want to find out about the intellectually challenged, do yourself a favor, and volunteer with the local agencies that work with this population. You'll learn more in five minutes than you will from 2 hours of this drek!

    (2 out of 10, mainly for technical merit in the film production).
  • ....Strange things are happening to my body...." "me too..."

    This is a "special" movie about "special" people: Afterschool SPECIAL, I should say.

    Why is anyone taking this seriously?

    It's a joke!

    "Wh-wh-what do they do after k-kissing?"

    "uh, uh th-th-then they, they DO IT! A-and then, he smiles! And she has a cigarette!"

    "B-b-but, I, I don't like smoking!"

    And I don't need to have to think about sex between retarded people.
  • I'm sure everyone involved in this movie had the best of intentions. Maybe that's the problem. Certainly the idea and much of the execution of the romance was well done, but the movie just didn't work. All conflict was removed from the screenplay, other than the conflict between Carla and her mother, and it was obvious from the start that that would be resolved. The movie dragged out, hitting its points over and over and over and over again. It all looked phoney (especially the scene between the mother and Michelle. The mother's line to her was the height of hypocrisy). The acting was good, but the story was too weak, contrivied, and pat. If you want to see something good on this subject, rent BEST BOY. Give everyone here an A for intentions, but an F for filmmaking.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    As a person with disabilities and a disability rights advocate, I can only ask where were the technical advisors? That's my question. It seems that Garry Marshall used this as a vehicle to make all sorts of sermonette statements about the disabled/challenged/insert politically correct term here. And "Gee, wouldn't it be funny if..." so he could use supposedly funny lines like "Your daughter is barking." And "I can drive" (on a bike)...Yuck. Yuck. That low level of effort for humor is the same low level of understanding the writers made to write the script and the actors made to study the disabilities they (very poorly) mimic.

    The road to hell, they say, is paved with good intentions. And this movie deserves a circle in hell of its own for a very poorly conceived script, very, very bad acting (to the point of the two leads being downright insulting), and just being a very bad idea all the way around. Frankly, this film does more harm than any good it may have intended. Avoid it.
  • tedg28 February 2002
    Warning: Spoilers
    Spoilers herein.

    Exploitive, cloying stereotypes.

    This film is what it is about, an unfair amount of attention given to the retarded daughter. The real center is the ignored people, those who fall between the cracks because others are `special' -- people who fall between the cracks like lesbians, alcoholics, neurotics, troubled vets, people who don't have `blessed' conditions. Juliette's job is to be so loveable that it makes us accept this unfairness. Give her a parade!

    I saw this (again) in preparation for Sean Penn's portrayal of a mentally damaged person. He is the most interesting actor alive, and I wanted some background on how others handle it. All actors like to play characters that cannot be whole characters, either because they are damaged or they are actors. Every actor eventually gets around to it.

    It is already the case that actors refer to prior portrayals rather to reality. Juliette gets extra points in my book for passionate commitment. She acts with her mouth, and luckily many mentally deficient people focus on their mouths as well. She comes up with some new mannerisms, at least to me. Not true, merely dramatic. I was always aware I was watching and actor. Try "I Am Sam" instead.
  • I went along with someone to see this film and was very close to walking out. I cannot remember EVER seeing a film that was so offensive!

    "The Other Sister" refers to Juliet Lewis' character, a mildly retarded girl who is often ignored by her matriarchial battle ax of a mother (Diane Keaton.) It is clear that this movie is trying to show that mentally handicaped people are capable of overcoming difficulties. However, this film fails to come off this way. Lewis and Ribsi's characters are portrayed in a mocking light, with the scene at the wedding reception in which Ribi's sings 76 trombone's being perhaps the most offensive thing ever put on film. With every plot contrivance, the crediblity of this film slips further and further downhill. And Diane Keaton's phoned in sterotypical performance crushes whatever positive strides this film makes. On to top it all off, this film is agnoizingly long. Lewis and Ribisi do do a nice job portraying their characters. Unfortunatly, we're watching sterotypes, not people. Tom Skerrit and Hector Elizondo are wasted in this film as well. Unless you're into schmaltz, do yourself a favor and skip this one.
  • Cuz she has a lot to LOIN! I don't think they even let people like that into Vo-Tech; that's just insulting. They left out the part where Carla brings cosmetics to a make-up exam.

    Nobody names a goldfish "Tickles," that's really dumb unless you're fish is ticklish, which I don't think it was.

    I want that job picking marshmallows out of tuba's, it's a chick magnet, especially not getting paid.

    I call Danny "College Bread" - he made a 4 year loaf off his father's dough!

    "I got a cookie maker's hat and everything! It's really high!"

    That line does NOT work, and neither does wearing a puppy costume and barking at girls who are the ugly duckling.

    I didn't buy that part where he says he's house-trained: he's more of a litterbox kind of guy who tells everyone his love secrets because he wants to do that pervy thing on page 146.
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