My Skinny Sister

Review by Sophie Monks Kaufman @sopharsogood

Directed by

Sanna Lenken

Starring

Amy Diamond Henrik Norlén Rebecka Josephson

Anticipation.

Respect has gathered following festival screenings.

Enjoyment.

An authoritative take on how a severe eating disorder affects a family.

In Retrospect.

The pitch may be shrill but such is anorexia.

Anorexia as seen from all vantages within the nuclear family is the subject of this impressive drama.

This impressively detailed Swedish anorexia drama is told from the perspective of Stella (Rebecka Josephson) whose older sister Katja (Amy Deasismont) is a competitive figure skater. Young Stella is the picture of age-appropriate whimsy with her round face and mischievous tendencies. Through her eyes, Katjaʼs disordered symptoms at first seem like weird sisterly behaviour but they stack up until even this child can see that mental illness has snatched the body that once housed her flesh and blood.

Lenken does not glamorise anorexia. Katja is beautiful and talented and the eating disorder erodes rather than enhances these qualities. We hear vomit pelting a toilet bowl and the panic that rises every meal-time. We see an affectionate tease of a sister morph into a defensive monster. Deasismont gives an intelligently hysterical performance as a teenager in a bad place, offering enough of her character’s pre-illness personality to show who is being lost. Rebecka Josephson has a face that gives a little away. The way she performs small actions – like seeing an egg marked with her sister’s name, pausing for thought, and then eating it anyway – has a puckish innocence that induces glee even as Katja’s anorexia worsens.

This is Lenken’s first feature, although she explored similar territory in a short set in an eating disorder facility (2013’s Eating Lunch). Lenken fills in the rest of the family with broad strokes – mother is a distracted workaholic, father is good-natured but blind. One wonders how it will end as eating disorders don’t lend themselves to tidy narrative resolutions. Lenken makes a decision that drives home the fact that – even though Katja is often front and centre – this is a story about a young person finding her way out of an inherited familial catastrophe.

Published 27 Nov 2015

Anticipation.

Respect has gathered following festival screenings.

Enjoyment.

An authoritative take on how a severe eating disorder affects a family.

In Retrospect.

The pitch may be shrill but such is anorexia.

Read More

He Named Me Malala

By Sophie Monks Kaufman

This cagey documentary portrait fails to do justice to its inspiring subject, Malala Yousafzai.

review

Song of the Sea

By David Jenkins

Do Ghibli and Pixar have a new rival in Irish director Tomm Moore? This stunning film would suggest they do.

review LWLies Recommends

Suffragette

By David Jenkins

Strong moments and sincere intent can’t save Sarah Gavron’s shapeless take on the plight of the Suffragettes.

review

What are you looking for?

Little White Lies Logo

About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.

Editorial

Design