Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Catherine is a well-to-do, independent young woman living in an expensive London flat, wearing expensive clothes and having a hopeless affair with a married man. Her half-sister Shirley is a hard working New Zealand sheep farmer who wears whatever she can find on the floor in the mornings and has inadvertently stolen the heart of her sheep shearer. When both their mothers die in bizarre hoovering accidents and Shirley discovers that her home may be under threat, she travels to London to confront Catherine, who didn't even know she existed, and enlist her help in tracking down the conman father who might ruin them both.

Flimsily plotted and lurching from one contrived scenario to another, hamming up the stereotypes like a Kiwi chick flick Crocodile Dundee, this is a film which ought to be awful. Fortunately, Emily Corcoran proves to be a much better actress than she is a writer. Her sterling turn as Shirley gives the film real character and charm, enabling the viewer to root for her even when the story is at its weakest. Isabelle Defaut is pretty but bland as Catherine, yet serviceable enough as a stooge.

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Nicholas Ball packs in all the cliches as their dissembling father, a man with a long history of swindling women to pay off his gambling debts, and doesn't quite have the charm to convince when you consider exactly what he's responsible for, but Maria Charles is superb as Ethel, his most recent intended victim.

Though the film shows the usual patronising disgust at the idea of older people having an interest in sex, Ethel is a more complex character than she first appears to be, and Charles imbues her with a certain dignity. Also good is Rory MacGregor as her disabled son Paul, and it's refreshing to see this character used to overturn a few well worn cliches.

Sisterhood will appeal to viewers who like stories about female bonding against the odds and will also please quite a few of those who generally don't, as it also contains a fair amount of wacky comedy, toilet humour and, occasionally, genuinely inspired silliness.

Sadly, poor pacing, an intrusive soundtrack and the awkward script undermine its comic potential and make it a lot less entertaining than it might have been. It's a brave low budget effort but it never quite hits the mark. Still, Corcoran may well be one to watch - and you can look forward to a refreshing ending.

Reviewed on: 16 Oct 2008
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Two recently bereaved sisters who have never met before unite to search for their conman father.
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Director: Richard Wellings-Thomas

Writer: Emily Corcoran

Starring: Emily Corcoran, Isabelle Defaut, Nicholas Ball, Maria Charles, Graham McTavish, Paul Gregory, Robert Faith

Year: 2008

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: UK


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