Reel Asian 2021: Our Review of ‘Three Sisters’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, Reel Asian 2021 by - November 14, 2021
Reel Asian 2021: Our Review of ‘Three Sisters’

A lot of things happen in Lee Seung-won’s Three Sisters but let’s skip to the end of its first act. That part of the film depicts one of the many Sunday services where Jeon Miyoon (Moon So-ri) takes on the role as the conductor of the church choir. What makes this Sunday different is that the younger sister that she’s ghosting, Miok (Jang Yoon-ju), crashes the service. This leaves her no choice but to take her out to lunch. This meeting is inevitable since they’re gonna end up seeing each other at their father’s birthday party that Miyoon is organizing. One of the burning questions that Miok has is whether or not their estranged older sister Heesuk (Kim Sun-young) is also going. They have a lot to say about her, mostly negative stuff. But it’s apparent that Miyoon’s marriage and Miok’s family situation are their own version of powder kegs.

Three Sisters has three unsympathetic characters which can go both ways. The first is that it can be like watching a train wreck that viewers can’t look away from. The second is basically this movie in that its own brand of unsympathetic feels unwatchable. What Miyoon and Miok don’t know is that Heesuk is the punching bag of her family. And the film doesn’t earn, for instance, the cruel actions of Heesuk’s daughter. The turning point between the second and the third act is when each sister claps back at the family members who treat them like dirt. Normally, viewers can’t wait for the moments where the underdogs fight back, but not in this film. Heesuk’s revelation to her daughter that she has cancer doesn’t have the same emotional weight. Miyoon and Miok have scenes where they do the same thing and those aren’t effective because they’re terrible characters.

Buy tickets to Three Sisters here.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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