One of the highlights of this year’s Israeli Film Festival, My Lovely Sister is a light yet poignant drama that explores familial ties both tangible and otherworldly. The film’s magical tone is established from the onset as the ghost of a recently deceased man casually comments on his wife’s over-the-top mourning at his own funeral. The scene lends credibility to the beliefs of Moroccan Jewish protagonist Rahma (Evelin Hagoel, A Matter of Size) who spends the majority of the film conversing with the ghost of her sister Marie (Reymond Amsalem, Lebanon). Prior to her death, the spiteful Rahma hadn’t spoken to her sister for 20 years following Marie’s marriage to an Arab fisherman. While Rahma learns from her mistakes, her seemingly cold husband Robert battles his own ghosts from their shared past that take physical form in a psychosomatic rash. Robert’s experience provides the film’s most interesting narrative bits while their porn smuggling son Kobi’s predictable character arc does little but serve as a good-natured distraction. Its intentions are noble and its emotions true thus My Lovely Sister is tough to dislike regardless of convolutions and a heavily melodramatic climax.
My Lovely Sister screens this Sunday, March 25 at 7:00 PM at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute as part of the 16th annual Israeli Film Festival of Philadelphia.