Matt Rutledge goes on vacation to the Louisiana bayou country. He decides to stay at an old plantation house which is now a boarding house owned by two sisters, Charlotte and Lucy.
Charlotte is in her 30s, in and out of love with the town sheriff, Cleve Doucet. Lucy is in her 20s and has a long history of mental illness and contact with the ghosts of several people who have died in a bayou near their home. Lucy falls in love with Matt, and the characters find themselves involved in murder, betrayal and dark secrets from the past, which are revealed gradually in flashback.
When Charlotte was a teenager and Lucy was a child, Matt’s older brother Jud had tried to rape them and they had killed him in self-defense. But in panic they had dragged his body into a bayou and not reported the incident to anyone. Jud’s death was a terrible secret only the sisters shared, and it was to some extent responsible for Lucy’s mental problems.
Sister, Sister is a 1987 American Southern Gothic thriller film directed and co-written by Bill Condon. The film stars Eric Stoltz, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judith Ivey, Dennis Lipscomb, Anne Pitoniak, Benjamin Mouton, Natalija Nogulich, Richard Minchenberg and Ashley McMurry.
Film Review for Sister Sister
This is a spooky, southern gothic film about two sisters, both haunted by their pasts. Living together in an exquisite, antebellum mansion in the bayou of Louisiana, the Bonnard sisters struggle to meet each day as it comes, running a bed and breakfast. One sister, Lucy (Jennifer Jason Leigh), is somewhat fey and seems to need a reality check. The older of the two, Charlotte (Judith Ivey) is the more grounded sister. Or is she?
Together, they run the bed and breakfast with the help of a hunky handyman and childhood friend, Etienne (Benjamin Mouton), who is sweet on Lucy, despite Charlotte’s watchful eye. Charlotte also has someone sweet on her, the local sheriff, Cleve Doucet (Dennis Lipscomb), whom she is on the verge of losing, because for some inexplicable reason she refuses to marry him. One day, Matt Rutledge (Eric Stolz) arrives at the Bonnard bed and breakfast, where he is to be a guest. He, too, seems smitten by the lovely, ethereal Lucy, much to Charlotte’s consternation and Etienne’s annoyance.
What follows is a series of macabre events, fueled by secrets of the past and misguided perceptions. While the plot is engaging, parts of it are a little over the top. Still, it is so well done that it keeps the viewer riveted to the screen. Terrific performances are given by all, with those of Jennifer Jason Leigh and Benjamin Mouton being especially fine.
The ending is also particularly memorable. Shrouded in the mists of the Louisiana bayou, it is a vindication of Lucy’s visions and a fitting memoriam to love everlasting. This is a film well worth viewing. Those who enjoyed that other southern gothic, “The Gift”, will, undoubtedly, enjoy this one, as well.
Sister, Sister (1988)
Directed by: Bill Condon
Starring: Eric Stoltz, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judith Ivey, Dennis Lipscomb, Anne Pitoniak, Benjamin Mouton, Natalija Nogulich, Richard Minchenberg, Ashley McMurry
Screenplay by: Bill Condon, Joel Cohen
Production Design by: Richard Sherman
Cinematography by: Stephen M. Katz
Film Editing by: Virginia Katz
Costume Design by: Bruce Finlayson
Set Decoration by: Cynthia C. Rebman
Art Direction by: Phil Peters
Music by: Richard Einhorn
Distributed by: New World Pictures
Release Date: February 9, 1988