Frozen has been playing ad nauseum in my house of late, so much so that I often catch myself mindlessly humming “Let it Go” in the grocery store. But despite the Elsa/Anna exhaustion, I must admit, I find the plot of the Disney cartoon kind of endearing—SPOILER ALERT—with the love of a sister, and not the prince she just met, saving the movie’s heroine.
So I got to thinking, what are some other great sister flicks? After all, the sister dynamic makes for a great story, be it happy, dysfunctional, competitive, distant, or some combination of the above. Here are a few that I love. Share your favorites or any I’ve missed in the comments.
1. Little Women: Oh the March sisters. Louisa May Alcott’s novel based on her own childhood has been adapted for the big and small screen many times, but my Gen X self prefers the 1994 version featuring Susan Sarandon as Marmie, Winona Ryder as Jo, and notorious ugly-crier Clare Danes as the benevolent Beth. I love how this movie shows the timelessness and enduring nature of the sisterly bond.
2. In Her Shoes: I’ve never really been a fan of Jennifer Weiner’s books, but for some reason, I find myself rewatching the movie adaption of her second novel any time its on cable. Focusing on the dysfunctional relationship of two sisters, the story starts when the messed-up-yet-beautiful Maggie sleeps with the boyfriend of perfect-yet- less-attractive Rose. From there, their lives unravel and the girls begin to understand their family dynamics and selves a bit better.
3. Sunshine Cleaning: Keeping with the messed-up sister theme, this indie darling stars Amy Adams as a single mom who starts a disaster/crime-scene clean-up company with her slacker sister, played by Emily Blunt. It’s a bittersweet movie about human nature (and the indelible mark left on us by high school).
4. A League of Their Own: Ostensibly about the female professional baseball team during World War II, the movie has at its core the story of two sisters (Lori Petty and Geena Davis) working through their own rivalry while trying to get the league off the ground. (It also has Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell reminding us that two are good friends. Weird, right?)
5. The Parent Trap: Before Lindsay Lohan was this Lindsay, she was this Lindsay. Despite Lohan’s propensity for legal drama, I still adore her first film—a remake of the Disney classic about twins who find each other after their parents separated them when they divorced. (Although if you think about it, the plot is totally messed up.) (Also, don’t shoot me for picking Lohan’s version over the original. I could never get passed Hayley Mills’ hair.)
6. In America: Moving from adorable girl in a Disney film to adorable girls in a rip-your-heart-out-and-stomp-on-it drama, In America is about an Irish immigrant family who illegally moves to New York after the death of their son. Told through the perspective of the oldest daughter, the story stars real life sisters Sarah and Emma Bolger and is loosely based on the life of Irish director Jim Sheridan. If you haven’t seen this movie, be warned that it could make you sob so hard that you start to hyperventilate.
7. Knocked Up: After the cryfest that is In America, perhaps a more comedic look at sisters (and family in general) is in need. Enter Knocked Up, with unwed and pregnant Katherine Heigl living with her unhappily married sister played by Leslie Mann. While this movie is largely about Heigl and her relationship with baby daddy Seth Rogan, I found Mann’s one-liners to be one of the best thing about this movie.
8. Jerry Maguire: Speaking of acerbic sisters. Yes, Jerry Maguire is about the impulsive marriage between Tom Cruise and Bridget Jones Renee Zellwigger (because he’s enamored by her precocious son), but I really enjoyed—no, not Cuba “show me the money” Gooding, Jr.—but Bonnie Hunt’s role as the bitter older sister.
9. Blue Jasmine: Cate Blanchett brilliantly plays the delusional and downtrodden New York socialite Jasmine who goes to live with her long-lost working-class sister in San Francisco after her husband is arrested for a Bernie Madoff-like scheme. The Woody Allen film is not the director’s only one to analyze sister relationships—there’s also Hannah and Her Sisters (which I admit I’ve never seen).
11. The Upside of Anger: Speaking of bad marriages, Terry (Joan Allen) has a bit of a break as the mother of four young women whose husband has left her for another woman. While Terry deals with her crumbling world, her four daughters try to find themselves and their place in the world. All with the help of a washed-up former baseball player played by Kevin Costner.
12. Our Idiot Brother: When their hippie brother is arrested for selling pot, his three sisters step in to try and help him after he’s released from jail. His return to their life helps them mend fences and deal with the issues going on in their life. Not many people have seen this movie—and it’s a shame.
13. Pride & Prejudice: The only sisters I love more than the Marches are the Bennett sisters—smart Elizabeth, sweet Jane, socially awkward Mary and the saucy duo of Lydia and Kitty. This 19th century version of the rom-com also introduced the world to the misunderstood Mr. Darcy. While I enjoy the beautifully shot Keira Knightly adaptation of this novel, I’ll pick the BBC mini-series with a young Colin Firth as Darcy over it any day.