The Other Sister

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The Other Sister
File:Other sister poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Garry Marshall
Produced by
  • Mario Iscovich
  • Alexandra Rose
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Bob Brunner
  • Garry Marshall
  • Alexandra Rose
  • Blair Richwood
Music by Rachel Portman
Cinematography Dante Spinotti
Edited by Bruce Green
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • February 26, 1999 (1999-02-26)
Running time
130 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $35 million[2]
Box office $27.8 million[2]

The Other Sister is a 1999 American romantic comedy film directed by Garry Marshall and stars Juliette Lewis, Giovanni Ribisi, Diane Keaton, and Tom Skerritt. It was filmed in Long Beach, Pasadena, and San Francisco, California.[3] The film was written by Marshall, Bob Brunner, and Malia Scotch Marmo (uncredited).


After receiving a well-earned certification from a sheltered boarding school, Carla Tate (Juliette Lewis), an ambitious and mildly mentally challenged young woman, returns home to her over-protective and slightly snobby mother Elizabeth (Diane Keaton). Elizabeth seems to act as if she is embarrassed about her daughter's disability. During family discussions, Elizabeth adopts an uneasy attitude. Her father Radley (Tom Skerritt) is a dentist and recovering alcoholic. Carla's ambition is to seek more independence from her family by earning a diploma from a trade school. When Carla meets another mentally challenged student, Daniel McMann (Giovanni Ribisi), they become friends and soon fall in love. Envying Danny's freedom, Carla convinces her parents she is capable of living on her own and moves into her own apartment. After a time, Carla and Danny become sexually active together.

Danny's independence is financially compromised when his wealthy and emotionally detached father abruptly stops sending subsistence money. Danny begins to realize that the independence he enjoyed comes with a staggering cost. Danny gets drunk, then seeks solace and insight (and a joyride in a vintage Ford Mustang convertible) from his landlord and friend, Ernie (Hector Elizondo).

During a Christmas party at the country club, nervous about his personal lot, Daniel drinks too much to build up his courage to declare his love for Carla, also telling everyone about their first time making love. A humiliated Carla bursts into tears, screaming at everyone to stop laughing at her. Although Daniel did not intend to embarrass Carla, she nonetheless refuses to see him. Over time, Carla realizes she still loves Danny and wants to see him again despite her mother's advising her otherwise. At her sister Caroline's (Poppy Montgomery) wedding, Danny surprises Carla by showing up at the church and asking Carla to marry him, in a scene mimicking The Graduate, the couple's favorite film.

Everyone supports their wishes except Elizabeth, who is unsure Danny can take care of himself, let alone Carla, who becomes angry, telling her mother she is sick of her dominance and doubt and is also sick of her treating her like an embarrassment. Radley and her sisters Heather (Sarah Paulson) and Caroline support her decision, and the wedding is planned. At first, Elizabeth is determined not to attend; but Radley admonishes her, saying he will walk Carla down the aisle, and finally she relents. Outside the church, Danny surprises Carla with a marching band playing a song from The Music Man... and they are chauffeured away to their honeymoon in Ernie's prized Mustang.



The Other Sister: Music from the Motion Picture was released on February 23, 1999. The lead song for the soundtrack was "The Animal Song" by Savage Garden. The music video for the song featured scenes from the film. It peaked at #109 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.


Box office

The Other Sister opened at #3 at the North American box office making $6,624,445 in its opening weekend behind Payback and 8mm, which opened at the top spot. It ultimately grossed $27,807,627 domestically, barely bringing back its $35 million budget.[2]

Critical reception

The film received negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film maintains a 29% rating, based on 48 reviews, with an average rating of 4.7/10. The site's consensus: "Made-for-tv drama evokes anything but real emotion."[4] Metacritic reports a 28 out of 100 rating, based on 21 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[5]

Roger Ebert rated the film at one out of four possible stars, and said the film was "so over-the-top maudlin that it makes Patch Adams and Stepmom look stoic and reserved."[6]


Lewis was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress for her performance, where she lost to Denise Richards for The World Is Not Enough.[7]


  1. "THE OTHER SISTER (12)". British Board of Film Classification. May 17, 1999. Retrieved October 22, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "The Other Sister". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 30, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "The Other Sister (1999)". IMDb.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "The Other Sister". February 26, 1999.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "The Other Sister Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 22, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "The Other Sister Movie Review (1999)". Chicago Sun-Times. February 26, 1999.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Razzie Awards (2000)". IMDb.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links