Perfect Sisters (2014)
Tired of their mother's alcoholism and a string of her abusive boyfriends, two sisters plot to kill her.
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Toronto teenager Abigail Breslin (as Sandra Anderson) and her year-younger sister Georgie Henley (as Elizabeth "Beth" Anderson) are also best friends. They have a big problem in common, too, alcoholic mother Mira Sorvino (as Linda). Not only does she drink like a fish, Ms. Sorvino has a succession of bad boyfriends. The girls can't keep track of them all. From the evidence we see in this story, it's safe to presume most of the men liked to smack Sorvino around and attempt sex with her daughters. There is also a neglected little brother. Yes, this is a wildly dysfunctional family. Speaking four different languages, including one they created for themselves, Ms. Breslin and Ms. Henley are easily smart enough to generate some good problem-solving strategies...Well, maybe not...This is another "based on a true story" movie which seems to suffer under the influence. It's sometimes difficult to believe the characters would act like this, in real life. There should be enough material on screen to make the story more believable. Director Stan Brooks does best in conveying the closeness of the "Perfect Sisters". There is a strong background-setting opening and the pair are often positioned in sync. Henley certainly wins the acting honors. The most believable of the three leading women, she effectively applies Gothic make-up to hide her pain. Older sister Breslin's adoption of her mother's habits may be more common, but's it's less convincing. Sorvino's mother portrayal is too poorly defined and the actress' attempted characterization is wasted...Of the supporting men, Jeff C. Ballard (as Justin) is the stand-out, due to his screen time and distracting eye make-up. While Henley's vampire-look helped us understand her character, Mr. Ballard's mascara runs the imagination rampant. Abusive lawyer James Russo (as Steve Bowman) is a standard heel. Instead of wildly shaking the camera, Mr. Brooks and photographer Stephanie Weber-Biron keep it smooth. During rough spots, like the boozy card game and a bathtub scene, they skillfully move around the characters. While the minor strengths are appreciated, the story responds by not adequately involving the viewer.**** Perfect Sisters (4/8/2014) Stan Brooks ~ Abigail Breslin, Georgie Henley, Mira Sorvino, Jeff C. Ballard
It seems the bad reviews are coming from those that are appalled with the concept, so their views may be slightly skewed. They talk about bad acting by the sisters, which would be true if they weren't portraying teenagers, so many times I was reminded of girls I knew in high school. The lack of real emotion, the "zig zagging back and forth" of their emotional states, etc. is all pretty common for teenagers, especially girls... Considering what they were going through, it wouldn't have seemed right if their wasn't some back and forth in terms of intent and how they felt about the whole thing. It was their mom, so of course they would have had second thoughts and maybe searching for some reason or sign to restore a little faith in her. The character of the a-hole boyfriend was a bit over the top, and should have been toned down and have some build up, instead of having him immediately attack Beth. I mean within seconds he's all over her, it is a bit too much. It felt like the writer used him to make the audience feel empathy for the girls, not small "Well maybe I can see their side" empathy, but a "Whoa! They don't have any choice but to kill her now!!!" type of empathy.Perhaps it could have been better written and there are some parts that are annoying, but those are likely going to be different for most people, as it is with every movie- personal preference. All in all the movie was very watchable for me, though it felt like they didn't want us feeling negatively about the girls at all, so any situation that could create a little empathy is amped up to create a lot of it. After watching it I thought to myself that if they were my friends I wouldn't hold it against them. I then saw a statement by the author of the book saying that they left out how cold and calculating they were. Then I read a bit about the real story and feel much less sympathy for them now. Though I wish they were more true to the real story, I still enjoyed it.
Two teenage girls (Abigail Breslin and Georgie Henley), frustrated and at their wit's end over their mother's (Mia Sorvino) alcoholism, concoct a plan to murder the matriarchal drunkard because.....teenagers.To call this movie amateurish is an understatement, and about the closest thing to a compliment that I could ever hope to give to this film. There is no steady progression, and characters just leap to conclusions that no human being ever could. How a child jumps from sympathetic towards their mother to murderous in the time frame they did is insulting. The teenage airheads surrounding the leads do nothing more than justify the stupidity of the leads. Their indifference towards their friends' diabolical plans would be sickening, if they had even the shakiest grasp on the craft of acting.And as if the supporting casts' acting abilities aren't bad enough, this movie actually manages to squeeze cringe-inducing performances out of the leads as well. Mia Sorvino is particularly painful to watch, as the only believable emotion she portrays is drunk. It's like watching your good friend fumble their way through a karaoke song while strongly intoxicated. The resulting effect is embarrassing and uncomfortable. Breslin and Henley are just as bad, with performances rife with tearless crying, no discernible moral compass (They are neither sympathetic, nor sociopathic as they zig-zag back and forth) and the exact same shortcomings as their supporting counterparts. James Russo stars as the mother's abusive Lawyer (This guy's a Lawyer?!?!?!) boyfriend, who makes sexual advances on Henley's character. Maybe with a better director, this character could have been menacing. But with a script as hackneyed as this, he comes off as too buffoonish to be truly intimidating. Any other roles are played like stock characters from a lifetime movie of the week.Production-wise, the movie also suffers from stilted, unimpressive cinematography and some truly horrendous editing. An opening sequence shows the girls in a flashback as toddlers, spending a day at the beach with their mother superimposed over (What I would assume is) the beach in current times. The effects used to make this sequence look like something you would use in one of those booths at the mall that allow you to make your own music video.The experience of watching this "film" is a grating and jarring one. The film was shot in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. As I'm sure you can tell by the title of this review, I'm seriously considering relocating.
Sandra Anderson (Abigail Breslin) has her older sister Beth (Georgie Henley) as her best friend. Their alcoholic partying mother Linda (Mira Sorvino) moves the family once again into another lower class neighborhood. Linda loses her job and can't keep her sobriety. Her mother's boyfriend is abusive. Nobody is willing or able to help. So the sisters and their friends plan to kill the mother for the insurance money. It's loosely based on a true story in Toronto.It's an amateurish attempt from producer turn director Stanley M. Brooks. The girls are reasonable but it doesn't rise any higher than a TV melodrama. The story gets a little bit interesting as the kids plan the murder. The dialog is pretty bland bordering on awkward with some weak narration from Breslin at the start. Another problem is the lack of interesting style from the movie. Obviously they're using Breslin's star power to sell this but she can't save this project.