My Brother, My Sister 2021 Movie Review Poster Trailer Online
My Brother, My Sister (Mio Fratello Mia Sorella) is a Netflix Original movie written and directed by Roberto Capucci about a family forced back together by their father’s will. Tesla (Claudia Pandolfi) and Nick (Alessandro Preziosi) haven’t seen each other in 20 years. Still, when their father’s will insists they live together in the house they co-inherited for at least a year, it’s not going to be easy.
Tesla is an exceptionally anxious, overprotective mother to Sebastiano (Francesco Cavallo), a prolific cellist diagnosed with Schizophrenia five years ago, and Carolina (Ludovica Martino), a young artist trying to break free of her mother’s grasp. Nick is a free spirit who nobody had heard from in two decades until he crashed his father’s funeral with a rousing speech that stirred Sebastiano for the first time in a long time. It’s evident from the first minute any of the characters speak to one another that things were contentious and unhealthy before Nick showed up. He’s obviously only going to rock the boat harder.
The movie is totally formulaic at the onset. You’ve got your mysterious, long-lost family member who disappeared, and everyone hates them at first until he connects with Seba, and suddenly things start turning around. Then, a blowout gets things heated again. So will he, or the rest of the family, remain the changed people they’ve become now that they’re reunited? Or will everyone devolve back to their prior ways?
The setting and costuming are particularly enjoyable. The acting is very hot or cold, though. In some of the heated scenes, where Nick and Tesla are arguing, or Carolina or Tesla arguing, the acting gets really good. Their hatred and discontent are powerful. But in the more mundane scenes, between Carolina and Emma (Stella Egitto), her friend and Seba’s musical partner, or between Nick and Sebastiano, things get dull and trite. It’s not an unenjoyable story for the first three-quarters, but it has some odd pacing between certain scenes and doesn’t always captivate.
None of that matters, though, once you get to the final moments of the movie. Up until then, everything feels fine enough. The way that the set designs and some very obvious conversations make clear that Tesla’s anxieties, which are of course egged on by her father’s unhealthy brand of love, are what is straining her relationships with her kids. Worse, it seems to exacerbate Sebastiano’s conditions. Again, trite, but not offensive—yet. Then when the film is about to end, something terrible and unexpected happens, and Seba is turned instantaneously from a character in the movie with his own agency to a prop whose only purpose is to service the growth of the other characters.
It was so completely jarring and unexpected that I didn’t even know what to think of it at first. I just kept yelling at my TV, “are you kidding me” over and over again. To take the character struggling with severe mental health distress, a subject that was handled mostly well for the film’s duration, and suddenly make him into a lesson for everyone else to learn from was just awful and offensive. And when I thought it couldn’t get any worse and that the movie was just going to end on a horrible and frustrating note, it somehow managed to do something even more egregious by completely trivializing Sebatiano’s schizophrenia. Through a sort of a dream sequence, his condition turns into a prop rather than letting him simply be a human being.
It was deeply uncomfortable to me, and when the movie actually came to an end a few moments later, my emotions were so thoroughly manipulated that I was simultaneously crying over the tragedy and disgusted by what just happened. I have no issue with a movie using tired tropes to manipulate my emotions and get me feeling sad. But to take a kid’s heartbreaking condition and turn it into a lesson for everybody else to learn at his expense was just terrible.
My Brother, My Sister is a perfectly fine movie up until the very end. My recommendation: watch it up until the penultimate scene at the recital and just turn it off there. Spare yourself the offensive ending and just take a guess as to how the movie truly ends because, I assure you, it’s not difficult to figure out. Let yourself just be satisfied with a decent family drama with a few good yelling and making-up scenes without the baggage of how it ruins itself in the end.
My Brother, My Sister is streaming now on Netflix.