NXNE 2014: Lies I Told My Little Sister – Film Review
Director: William J. Stribling Writers: Jonathan Weisbrod, Judy White Cast: Lucy Walters, Michelle Petterson, Ellen Foley Runtime: 98 min Rating: STC
With a rise in the making of small projects and independent films, it is becoming harder and harder for low scale productions to make their way into renowned film festivals. This is why it is always interesting to see the lineup of films that stood out from an ever growing pool of hopefuls, and managed to enthrall and move the viewer in such ways that they become timeless. Lies I Told My Little Sister deals with very strong themes of a broken family, and the hardships the passing of a loved one brings. With this ominous premise, it promises to deliver an inspiring story of love and loss.
Cory Webber (Lucy Walters) is a nature photographer who has lately been struggling with keeping her family together. After her older sister Sarah (Alicia Minshew) dies from cancer, all she has left is her mother and her younger sister Jane (Michelle Petterson), who is extremely adamant in pretending the family is happy and united, despite what everybody knows is the truth. After they all travel to Cape Cod in order to revive some memories of their childhood, they must struggle with learning how to be a family that has one giant missing link that used to keep the balance in everybody. Not only will the trip force Cory to confront the reality of her close relatives, but she will also discover how other elements of her past will help her improve her well being, and make her stronger in order to confront the challenges of the future.
The talent of the film is relatively unknown, and it stars Lucy Walters, who some might know as the woman who Michael Fassbender´s character in Shame pursues in the subway. It seems like this cameo gave Webber some leeway into bigger scale acting, and her future seems promising. However, her abilities are still lacking, and this you can definitely tell, and the acting throughout the film leaves much to be desired. This is not to be blamed exclusively on some of the inexperienced actors, as the screenplay is also somehow ordinary and awkward at times, especially when it tries to bring the film comedic undertones, which are mostly delivered by ex Blue’s Clues star Donovan Patton who plays Jane’s husband (fun fact if you ever wondered what happens after working in a children’s shoe!). The cast chosen to be a family really struggles to project this on screen, and their chemistry makes it a tad hard to truly buy into the idea that they are a family. However, this does help the film when it tries to show a disjointed and disoriented group that is trying to rekindle their affection for each other. Although the story has a variety of very dramatic elements, everything seems to be dealt with in a very standard fashion, where the heroin learns to accept her family and herself through a trip, and the movie becomes quite predictable.
Despite the story of the film holding some rescuable elements, the truth is that nothing in this film is special enough to really make an impact, whether it be acting, cinematography, or screenplay. Everything about it is mostly underwhelming, and it evokes the feel of a made for TV movie. Despite this, there is certainly a ¨home-made¨ feeling around the film which gives hopes for the director to one day achieve something more substantial, would he continue to pour the same passion into his projects. The cast certainly have potential, and it will be interesting to see what they can make of different screenplays and opportunities.