VIFF 2021 Review: Three Sisters

Written by Alexander Reams


Family ties us all together. Even with a strenuous relationship, family is always going to be a part of your life. Such is the case in Lee Seung-Woo’s Three Sisters. The eponymous three sisters gather on their father’s birthday. All of them carry scars and memories from their upbringing and the different lives they lead now. The only person keeping them from having a “normal” day is their little brother, who always seemed a bit “off” to them. He goes on to unravel their secretive past, which ends up amounting to nothing. 

A common theme in Seung-Woo’s film, grand ideas and a longing to be profound, but juvenility and its flair for the pedantic weigh on this film like an anchor, not letting it move anywhere. The plot is the most intriguing part of the film, and that outstayed its welcome within the opening minutes of the film. Moon So-ri, Kim Sun-young, and Jang Yoon-ju do their best with what little they are given, I would love to see them given something far meatier and see how they elevate it. Their work here should be greatly commended, and at the same time condemn Seung-woo for not given these fantastic actors enough to work with. 

Even the gorgeous cinematography, combined with the fantastic trio of So-ri, Sun-young, and Yoon-ju, and the melancholic score by Park Ki-heon are not enough to make Three Sisters worth a watch. I wish it was, I was very much looking forward to seeing this and it let me down. I wanted to love this film, I wanted to sing its praises, it seemed so interesting and cool. Unfortunately what I was given was a pedantic, childish film that has big aspirations and snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.

Three Sisters Trailer

Three Sisters was screened as part of the 2021 edition of the Vancouver International Film Festival.

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