Sisters in art
Messy sibling relationships on screen, and in life
When it comes to telling stories, developed relationships are everything. It’s what breaks through every genre, every medium. If you have created well-defined relationships, you have story meaning. It’s universally understood.
One of those relationships is between siblings. It’s one of the more complicated relationships to explore. Siblings have a shared experience but they don’t always view it the same way. You have age differences, individual personalities, and unique points of view. Sometimes they don’t even share the same two parents.
Sister relationships are one of those sibling dynamics that is complex. The answers are endless as to why sisters do or don’t get along. Hopefully, you have a loving relationship with your sister. But if you don’t, the reasons could be power struggles, political disagreements, bullying, traumatic events, or personal struggles like with drugs or mental illness.
Freelance writer Sarah Neilson has written about sister relationships —
If you are and/or have a sister of any kind, you know that there’s something unique about sister relationships. Whether it’s twins or not, whether biological or chosen, whether bonded by accident or intention or both, sister relationships are rich, and sometimes messy.
This messiness is on full display in a short film by the talented Bryce Dallas Howard called “When You Find Me.” Bryce directed this film over 10 years ago, but its messages are timeless.
The film tells the story of two young sisters, one several years older than the other, who have a sick mother. The younger sister is caught up in playtime and doesn’t want to be told what to do by the older sister. You immediately get a sense of history, even with their young ages. Through a series of events, we see how their relationship is tested through time. And we wonder if it will be resolved and how.
The impact of this film is a thought-provoking look at whether or not siblings can resolve past differences. You can’t help but think about your own immediate and extended family and what has gone right and wrong. The film’s emotional weight sits with you long after the closing credits.
Questions are asked: Do we hold grudges simply because of misunderstandings? If we communicated more clearly, would this resolve our differences or exacerbate them?
It’s worth watching this film for its cathartic journey. Even if you have unresolved sibling disagreements that don’t have a solution right now, the film can help you to process your feelings. It’s immediately relatable.Art Impact is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.