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  Some Girls Sister Act
Year: 1988
Director: Michael Hoffman
Stars: Patrick Dempsey, Jennifer Connelly, Sheila Kelley, Florinda Bolkan, Lance Edwards, Lila Kedrova, Andre Gregory, Ashley Greenfield, Jean-Louis Millette, Sana Vraa
Genre: Comedy, Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Michael (Patrick Dempsey) was a student who had fallen in love with Gabriella (Jennifer Connelly) at university, thinking he had found the one for him, the one to stay with. But as the year drew on, Gaby disappeared back up to her family home in the north, and when he finally got through to her she told him she had left her studies because her grandmother (Lila Kedrova) was ill. To make amends, she invited Michael up for the Christmas holidays, so he packed his suitcase, hopped on a plane and arrived at the airport to be greeted by... absolutely nobody. He tried calling the house, but there was no reply, and hours later as he was considering giving up entirely, Gaby appeared with no apology, but he was too in love to make an argument of it...

Some Girls had a troubled distribution history, a co-production between the United States and the United Kingdom (where it was called Sisters) which not only didn't see the inside of many cinemas in either nation, but not anywhere else either, in spite of apparent design towards European sensibilities. It finally escaped onto home video, where it was mostly of interest to Jennifer Connelly fans who tracked it down, though latterly when Patrick Dempsey became a small screen heartthrob his fans in turn looked out for this, mainly because it featured the star in frequent states of undress, leaving nothing to the imagination (Connelly only got down to her underwear). Of such pleasures are cult movies made, though eventually the film's finer points were appreciated too.

This was down to a quasi-mystical tone to the proceedings which posited Gaby and her sisters Irenka (Sheila Kelley) and Simone (Ashley Greenfield) as somehow modern incarnations of the Three Graces of Greek mythology, sister Goddesses who encapsulated the most benevolent and improving things in life. Although this passes Michael by, director Michael Hoffman, working from a Rupert Walters' script based on his own experiences, made sure to include a collection of representations of the Graces within the frame, some more obvious than others, yet that was not all the film had on its mind, as there was a spiritual side linked in with Granny who is nearing the end of her time on Earth, but just has the opportunity to make an impression on one more person before she goes.

That person being Michael who when the family goes to visit her in the hospital mistakes him for her long-dead husband of the same name. In fact, he makes more progress with reaching the affections of Granny than he does with Gaby, who insists that he is "so sweet" but nevertheless also insists that she has fallen out of love with him, all this while happy to snuggle and smooch. Is it any wonder Michael is confused, and the reactions to him from the other family members are no less confounding, as the mother (Florinda Bolkan) is chilly and religious, rejecting his atheistic tendencies he hasn't outright stated but are sensed by her and the priest (Jean Louis-Millette), while the father (Andre Gregory) is nice enough but like his offspring too eccentric to really get to know, one of his habits being nudism.

Irenka, if anything, is the sister who pays Michael the most attention, having a habit of being undressed too, though only when he is glimpsing her from afar and further discombobulating him when he is desperately trying to keep Gaby in his mind. Even Simone winds up in his bed, nothing happens but by this time our hapless hero is suffering a severe case of sexual frustration that stuffing snow down his underpants will not solve, one aspect of how an outsider invited into an insular world of someone else's Christmas can feel like an alien at best, unwanted at worst. When Granny goes missing from the hospital he joins the search for her, eventually finding her in the forest after falling down a hole (or does she find him?), and thereafter sharing a moment, more than a moment actually, when he takes the old woman back to the country house to warm up, sensing something profound is happening with the near-senile lady but not sure exactly what it is. That could sum up the film: reaching towards the meaningful, yet too wrapped up in itself to wholly relate. Music by James Newton Howard.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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