Lisa (Hoss) is a former playwright transplanted from Berlin to Switzerland with her husband Martin (Albinus), an ambitious, preoccupied educator. It seems Lisa lost her muse the day she heard her beloved twin brother Sven (Eidinger) had been diagnosed with cancer. Sven, an accomplished, openly gay stage actor, uses a return to the boards as an artificial lifeline, and Lisa does all she can to help him get there. Yet his advanced illness makes his former colleagues wary about committing. Meanwhile, the stressful situation with Sven bringing Lisa’s already shaky marriage to the breaking point. Pulled in several directions at once, Lisa still finds a measure of grace in caring for Sven in his final days.
This intimate, touching portrait of a special sibling bond is not nearly as depressing as it sounds, thanks to the light, subtle touch of writer/directors Chuat and Reymond. Hoss, one of the finest screen actresses working today, conveys her inner conflicts without histrionics, while Eidinger, in the showier role, hits all the right notes as a brilliant artist raging against the dying of the light. Keller also scores as the twins’ mother, dealing with guilt and regret as she confronts the grim prospect of a child predeceasing her. In the end though, rather than dragging us down, this “Sister” lifts us up.