Which film gets sisterhood ‘right’?

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN, Lori Petty, Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Rosie O'Donnell, 1992, ©Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

As part of our Sister Series, FF2 Media Vice President Brigid Presecky and Engagement Manager Georgi Presecky discuss their favorite depictions of sisterhood in films (by female filmmakers!) Be sure to click on the film titles for full reviews.

Brigid

What do you think is the most accurate depiction of sisterhood in film?

Georgi

It’s fresh in my mind because it was such a popular release: Frozen II, which I just re-watched on Disney+, from Jennifer Lee. I think not only was sisterhood the moral of the first one, but in the second one, it went even deeper and they made the different personalities even deeper because Anna kind of represented the human side of things versus Elsa represented like the nature and the powerful side of things and how they worked together to kind of complement each other. 

I’m also thinking about A League of Their Own right now because it’s April and there’s no baseball and that’s hard, so I’m turning to baseball movies and it’s shocking to me that there’s only one solid movie about baseball and of course it’s written and directed by women. Penny Marshall directed A League of Their Own and obviously Geena Davis has become like this huge advocate for women in film and like just gender in all media, but that movie’s so special because of Dottie and her sister and how they’re totally different personalities. They used a sister narrative to tell the history of this otherwise unknown league of women who were awesome and were athletes and could play just as good as the men could and it’s sad that it took the men not being there for that to be kind of showcased, but the fact that they used the narrative of these two sisters with different kind of life paths playing the same game in the same way, it’s just one of my favorite movies and watching it makes really miss baseball.

Brigid

I think my pick would be Nia DaCosta’s film that came out last year called Little Woods. Lily James and Tessa Thompson play half-sisters who are in a lower class family and they kind of do whatever they can to survive. I just think it’s a really good depiction of how when you’re put in circumstances that are out of your control and you make choices that are kind of in a moral grey area, you know that they’re doing it for each other. 

Georgi

I really love that movie and I think it was really cool to see these sisters who would do whatever they could for each other, no questions asked. They were both frustrated with each other and with what they were doing and what they had to accomplish together, but they still did it. It was unsaid, which I think a lot of movies make the mistake of having to say like, “You’re my sister and I love you.” But the characters Tessa and Lily play, it was just very obvious in that I think it’s an ode not only to Nia but to them as actors because they really felt like real sisters. 

Brigid

It sounds similar to the movie you saw and reviewed with Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood.

Into the Forest (Credit: A24 Films)
Georgi

Oh yes, Into the Forest. They play sisters. Wow, it’s a really fitting movie for this time actually because they play sisters in this kind of apocalyptic scenario and you don’t exactly know what’s happening in the world. You just know there’s really no electricity and no connection to the outside world and they kind of have to come together to survive and they’re stuck at home and they have all these supplies. That is such a perfect watch for right now; how you would lean on each other in a situation like this, like the one we’re really experiencing now with the pandemic. That one’s directed by Patricia Rozema.

Brigid

And if we have another hour, maybe we can just talk about Little Women

Georgi

Our favorite sister movie is Little Women by Greta Gerwig, which came out last Christmas and you can stream it now on digital platforms. 

Brigid

We have so much to say because it is mutually our favorite book and it’s just amazing that it’s just sustained this popularity for 150 years just because it’s so well-written. It’s about young sisters in between childhood and adulthood and their dreams and how they make them come true and how heartwarming and heartbreaking it is at the same time. I just think everybody is a Meg, Jo, Beth, or Amy or a combination of the four of them and nobody could’ve done it the way Greta Gerwig did. 

Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan and Emma Watson in Greta Gerwig’s LITTLE WOMEN. (Credit: Sony/Columbia Pictures)
Georgi

All the other adaptations I really loved, but this one’s just extra special because of Greta and because of the cast and I think the fact that there are four March sisters, it was so long ago, like you said 150 years, but Louisa had the foresight to show that you can be any different kind of women. You’re right, every women can relate to one of those sisters, even if they don’t have sisters of their own and it’s just really special to watch and really, really good and one of the most important sister stories I think ever told, especially in literature, which there aren’t enough stories of women in literature that have to relate to other women and not just romantic love interests. But on that note, I do love Timothée Chalamet, so he’s a great highlight of that film.

One last one that I want to mention is on Netflix, it’s the super popular To All the Boys series adapted from the novels by Jenny Han, so all the books are written by women and the first film was written and directed by women, but the second film was directed by a man and I think that show is a really cool aspect of sisterhood because the youngest sister is kind of the hero of the story in that she sends out her older sister’s love letters to her crushes and that kind of ends up bringing her out of her shell and it’s kind of, again, changing her life trajectory in a really cool kind of teenage sweet way, but the dialogue is actually super funny between sisters. Like, it’s how we talk to each other when watching – – they watch Golden Girls and they watch Sixteen Candles and they talk to each other like we actually would. So that’s definitely a new one that I would watch even though it’s based in romance. It kind of has a cool side sister relationship.

Brigid

I think that’s a great place to leave off for now. 

Georgi

I think so, too. We have several reviews of these films on FF2 Media and you can check out JustWatch.com to see where you can watch them and celebrate sisterhood.

© Brigid Presecky and Georgi Presecky (4/8/20) FF2 Media

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (Netflix)

Featured photo: A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN, Lori Petty, Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Rosie O’Donnell, 1992, © Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

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