Parents' Guide to

The Sisters Brothers

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Heavy violence, camaraderie in revisionist Western.

Movie R 2018 121 minutes
The Sisters Brothers Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 13+

The Sisters Brothers is a must-see hidden gem from 2018

Love Western films or not, The Sisters Brothers will probably leave you more than satisfied, for it refuses to be submitted in a specific genre; it's equal parts drama, comedy, action, and even artistic! Every single frame is filled with arresting images and stunning lighting. Let alone the incredibly subtle metaphors Audiard weaves into the scenes throughout the movie. The score, which is by this year's Oscar-nominee Alexandre Desplat, also is hauntingly beautiful. Audiard has made a poetic Western in which the four lead actors work harmoniously. Phoenix, Reilly, Gyllenhaal, and Ahmed are all at the top of their game. Each one of them delivered what could be one of, if not the best performance in his career! They brought their unique, different, and often contradictory characters to life in their very own way. I can't single out only one performance as the best among the four better-than-each-other performances. Riz and Gyllenhaal prove that their terrific chemistry they had in Nightcrawler wasn't a mere coincidence. John C. Reilly has never delivered such a mature and ripe performance before; he is really at his peak! As for Joaquin Phoenix, I would only say that he wasn't only snubbed once by the Academy, but twice, if not three times, as I haven't watched Gus Van Sant's Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot. If there is an Oscar for best ensemble cast, The Sisters Brothers would definitely take my vote in 2018! The movie can feel a bit overlong partially due to some slow pacing at certain points. The other reason it can seem overlong is that because there are times I felt that the movie wasn't sure when it should end. Nonetheless, the journey our characters go through is any thing but boring. It's insanely thrilling; as Jacques Audiard manages to convey its temptations, dangers, abrupt feelings, and twists to the screen. ! (8.5/10)

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
age 18+

just like the rest of the junk out ther

This title has:

Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (3):

This enjoyable revisionist Western based on Patrick DeWitt's novel focuses on male relationships. But it's also somewhat tonally uneven, swinging from scenes of brutal violence to scenes that could be described as "cuddly." French director Jacques Audiard (A Prophet, Rust and Bone, Dheepan) makes his English-language debut with an assured touch; the movie's lyrical dialogue flows like music. Audiard seems to specialize in stories about the way violence wriggles its way into relationships, and The Sisters Brothers fits that mold perfectly. Reilly and Phoenix's characters have a simple but genuine history and an appealing conversational shorthand. Their performances are terrific.

The same goes for Ahmed and Gyllenhaal (who previously worked well together in Nightcrawler), playing educated men who prize simple courtesies and kindnesses. (Gyllenhaal in particular speaks with a studied elocution that sounds poetic.) When the four characters are all together, hanging around camp and waiting for a chance to look for gold, they have a genuine, delightful camaraderie. Audiard uses the film's Western landscapes effectively, but the movie's violence can seem detached, and the killings don't mean much (except for the untimely death of a horse, which is more gruesome than it had to be). And if not for the ingenious casting of the loopy, lovable Carol Kane (who has about five minutes of screen time), the ending wouldn't have worked quite so well.

Movie Details

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