Brother and Sister (Frère et Sœur)
For decades, siblings Louis (Melvil Poupaud) and Alice (Marion Cottiard) haven’t spoken to one another. They have a burning resentment and refuse to even acknowledge each other’s existence. While the reason why this hatred began isn’t exactly clear, snippets of dialogue demonstrate that their relationship has only continued to create more drama over time. However, when their parents are hospitalised in a tragic traffic accident, both siblings find themselves wrestling with this burden they’ve been carrying for so long.
Director Arnaud Desplechin (who co-wrote the screenplay alongside Julie Peyr) handles this sibling drama with dignified sophistication. Each shot is carefully constructed, and there is an overall appealing quality to the film’s aesthetic. Likewise, both stars bring a fiery intensity to each of their characters, who can go from one to 11 and back again in the blink of an eye. The fierceness of their performances is what keeps viewers engaged in the ride, even if there isn’t much going on in terms of the script.
Aside from the occasional scene that continues the loose plot about what’s happening to their parents, the bulk of this feature consists of each sibling bickering about the other to a friend or other family member. Not much is said about the scope of their fractured relationship, and after a while this repetitive structure becomes tedious and predictable. The siblings’ meeting is an inevitability; however even this collision of Titans vanishes without so much as a whimper.
The flick likewise has a strange habit of overdoing its music. Though the soaring string score that accompanies many of the scenes is anything but bad, when combined with the excessive performances of the two leads, these scenes have an unintended consequence of coming off as a poor melodrama, undermining the respective scene.
Brother and Sister seems to be a parable about letting go of toxic hatred. However, it turns out to be a well-shot splatter of wild performances.
Brother and Sister (Frère et Sœur) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Cannes Film Festival 2022 coverage here.
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Watch the trailer for Brother and Sister (Frère et Sœur) here: