Aside from the obvious, titular sibling Nannerl Mozart (Marie Féret, daughter of the film’s director René Féret, who has only acted in two other films, both under the direction of her aforementioned father) lived a rather unextraordinary life. The majority of her youth was spent on the royal road with her showbiz-driven parents and her prodigiously talented brother. She’s troubled by many things: her growing sexual curiosity, the gender politics of the era (“Secrets of harmony and counterpoint are beyond most people, especially women.”), and the fact that her controlling father Léopold obviously favors the talents of young Wolfgang (she constantly “suffers her father’s preference”). Nannerl makes a friend, is forced to dress as a man (twice), and makes arguable claims concerning her role in her brother’s early compositions. The remainder of her life is summed up in a series of titles that reveal both her admiration for her younger brother and her inability to ever advance beyond her father’s low expectations.
Mozart’s Sister showcases plenty of music, often through the siblings’ performances on piano and violin. The period sets, costumes, and calamities are reminiscent of Downton Abbey, but the film lacks defined and likable characters and thus offers little in the way of emotional connectivity. Undiscriminating fans of classical music and lavish miniseries need apply.
Mozart’s Sister opens today at the Ritz at the Bourse.