Keswick Film Club - Reviews - My Skinny Sister

Reviews - My Skinny Sister

My Skinny Sister

Reviewed By Chris Coombes

My Skinny Sister
My Skinny Sister
At the Keswick Film Club last Sunday we were treated to 'My Skinny Sister' from first time Swedish Director Sanna Lenken. The story is about body image, sibling rivalry (and devotion) and how usual family dynamics can start to unwind in the face of mental illness – in this case in the form of an eating disorder.

Stella the younger sister is played wonderfully well by newcomer Rebecka Josephson. It is through Stella's eyes that we watch the family focus on, and fall apart around, the drama of older sister Katja’s need to harm herself by refusing to eat, and throwing up when she does eat. It is Stella who has to inform her parents of Katja's illness, as they appear not to have noticed, and it is Stella who in the end throws her sister a possible lifeline.

There are some excellent scenes when we can really feel the frustration and helplessness of the parents who have no clue about how to handle this problem that is suddenly and so forcefully in their midst. Stella is at times sweet and at times nasty as she struggles with having lost both the attention of her parents and the support of her older sister. We are invited to reflect on how vulnerable young people are as they step out into a world that asks so much of them but sometimes fails to properly protect them.

The decision to tell the story through Stella's experience is a strength, but also a weakness. This is a young girl who is anxious to get on with her own life; she only partially understands the complexities of the family situation in which she finds herself, and so the film becomes somewhat simplistic and draws to a conclusion that, for some, might be a bit too neat, tidy and non-challenging. We are left in no doubt, though, of the potential healing power of a sibling relationship.

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19th Keswick Film Festival

22nd-25th February 2018


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