The Other Sister

Back in 1999, I was a teenager and addicted to the German magazine Bravo which was awesome. For a while they advertised movies by using stills to summarise the story in the shape of a photo novella. One of those movies was Garry Marshall’s The Other Sister with Juliette Lewis and Diane Keaton.other_sister

The plot is as follows: Carla Tate (Lewis) is an autistic and mentally challenged young woman who was sent away to a special school as a child. When she finally graduates and returns home, things soon return to the way they were with her mother Elizabeth (Keaton) who wants to protect Carla, effectively keeping her home and away from life.

But Carla has learnt that she can be much more than her mother wants her to be and decides to enrol at a trade school to earn a diploma and get a job. At college, she meets Danny (Giovanni Ribsi) who is also mentally challenged. They strike up an awkward friendship and soon enough fall in love.


The movie follows their strive for independence and acceptance against Elizabeth and other odds stacked high against them. Supporting cast includes Tom Skerrit as Carla’s loving father, Hector Elizondo as Danny’s well-meaning and caring neighbour as well as Poppy Montgomery and Sarah Paulson as Carla’s sisters.


Although the movie broaches a rather difficult subject, that of mental illness, it does so with charm and humour. The growing love (and lust!) between Danny and Carla allows for many hilarious moments, as well as a collection of aaaaawwwws, and Diane Keaton excels at playing a mother at odds with her children although she wants the best for them (a role she’s since then perfected in Family Stone and Because I Said So).


The only other movies of the same kind I could think of is Adam with Hugh Dancy, where he plays someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, and a German movie called Vincent will Meer with Florian David Fitz where he has Tourette’s Syndrome. Both take a humorous approach to the illnesses and reveal the characters as being loveable and trying to outgrow their disability.

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This is definitely a movie to watch if you feel a bit low or simply to remember the 90s 🙂


Pictures from:,,,,

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