Brother And Sister

***

Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

Brother And Sister
"Desplechin fires off too many salvoes which hit wide of the mark" | Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

There’s a lot going in Arnaud Desplechin’s Brother and Sister - perhaps a tad too much for its own good never mind the question of testing audience endurance.

The heart of the matter revolves around two warring siblings Alice and Louis, played by the ever watchable Marion Cotillard and Melvil Poupaud, and their extended family members.

Even within the first quarter of hour the pair have a face-off over the death of a six-year-old child (Louis’s son) during a family mourning while an elderly couple (their parents Abel, played by Joël Cudennec, and Marie-Louise (Nicolette Picheral)) become involved in a cleverly staged multiple pile-up on a country road as they were driving to Lille for the opening night of actress Alice’s new stage production, a James Joyce adaptation.

The basis of the mutual loathing between the pair is never fully explained although it’s hinted at: Louis is a writer who used one of his books to critique her professionally, to the extent that Alice and her husband (Francis Leplay) are considering suing him for libel.

Meanwhile their parents are lying in hospital in separate rooms as the medical staff try to patch them together after injuries sustained in the accident.

There are myriad other storylines involving Louis’s supportive wife Faunia (Golshifteh Farahani), and Lucia (Cosmina Stratan), a persistent fan of Alice’s to whom the she offers some kindness.

Nobody expects tales of family in-fighting to be neat and tidy affairs: such scenarios are messy by their nature but Desplechin fires off too many salvoes which hit wide of the mark. Some of the time shifts, too, make for challenging viewing.

Reviewed on: 21 May 2022
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Brother And Sister packshot
The death of a pair of siblings' parents forces them to cross paths after 20 years of avoiding one another.

Director: Arnaud Desplechin

Writer: Arnaud Desplechin

Starring: Marion Cotillard, Golshifteh Farahani, Melvil Poupaud, Cosmina Stratan, Max Baissette de Malglaive, Benjamin Siksou, Saverio Maligno

Year: 2022

Runtime: 108 minutes

Country: France

Festivals:

Cannes 2022

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