Despite uneven opening and closing sequences, this family melodrama from Italy hits just enough emotionally genuine notes to make it an interesting character study.
Middle-aged and older viewers will empathize with some of the issues the sibling duo faces in My Brother, My Sister, including accepting grown children on their own terms, facing the death of elderly parents, and making major life changes while there's still time to enjoy them.
Well-acted and set in Rome, which is glimpsed occasionally in street scenes (including a few gratuitous Colosseum shots and a couple of attractive sequences set only to classical music), the film begins with a death and ends with a symbolic rebirth.
The shady color tones used throughout craft a mood, but the film doesn't wallow in darkness or get stuck in the initial anger of the brother and sister, reunited after many years by their difficult father's death. Claudia Pandolfi and Alessandro Preziosi play well to counter-types but also convey a genuine sibling bond.
Francesco Caballo embodies Seba, who suffers from mental illness, with a subtle performance punctuated by hand gestures and unreadable glances.
The only scenes that feel out of place are the arrival of the irreverent son at the opening funeral and an out-of-body experience toward the end. One tries too hard to introduce disorder and the other to wrap things up too neatly.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.