“The Other Sister” Movie Analysis

Updated October 27, 2021

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“The Other Sister” Movie Analysis essay

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The following movie review will be reflected off the movie The Other Sister (1999). This movie reflects on the disability of Carla, a mentally challenged sister of 3. The family in this movie is a well rounded, and wealthy however, all the money in the world couldn’t buy the family patience to adjust to having a mentally challenged family member in their home. With that being said Carla is sent away for 10 years to a mentally challenged school away from home in another state. Upon her return she has the brightest intentions to fight for independence and self respect, she even falls in love with a mentally challenged boy, however her over protective mother thinks otherwise.

Her mother wants her to study art, play tennis, while Carla has hopes of returning to high school, and college to become a veterinary assistant. Every barrier Carla faced led her to run away from home which then gave the family an eye opener. Amongst all the obstacles, challenges, misjudgments from society and disagreements from her mom, Carla is able to attend college, live in her own apartment and even get married. This movie ties in with the course Phycology of Disability because it shows the social aspects of adjustment and adaption the family undergoes while having a sister who is mentally challenged. The course examines the personal and family issues experienced by people with mental and physical disabilities, and through out the movie, one is able to see every barrier the individual and family goes through, and how the environment reacts to a disability.

For being mentally challenged, Carla had high dreams and hope to make something out of her life, coming from a wealthy family she never once failed to portray humbleness and kindness. Carla did face a lot of barriers but they all begin with her mother and wealthy family. Carla’s mother knowing she’s wealthy had it all planned out that Carla didn’t have to go to college, or grow to be independent she wanted Carla to live a wealthy life style and be at home assisted by a maid and play tennis. Throughout the movie you see the reactions through out Carla’s childhood, and teenage years’ role played in action as she was bullied. When Carla was a little girl before being sent off to a special school, Carla would get aggressive when bullied, she would even make it to an extent to push the little kids who were bullying her down the stairs. She would throw tantrums and scream crying out of anger and disappointment and sorrow whenever she was laughed at or bullied at in public.

Although, Carla was optimistic about becoming something in life, she couldn’t cope well with judgment from society or her family, laughing was her most triggered point, any laughing in the room she was in would automatically trigger her insecurities because she automatically assumed they were laughing at her. Going into detail for example one of the main barriers Carla did face was the lack of attention and support from her family, time to time at the dinner table, Carla would mention her ambition to want to go to college and live on her own and her mother’s response was always “perhaps it’s not the best time to discuss that right now” or “you don’t know what you’re taking about” and would instead want to hear how the other sisters wedding was coming along and how wealthy her soon to be husband was. Carla did cause a few scenes in family functions such as work meetings where her mother was honored and her sisters bridal shower and wedding, and all the family was left with was “embarrassment”.

Several times throughout the movie, the mother loses patience and never fails to mention how embarrassed she is, but when it came to society judging Carla one on one, for example the realtor of the apartment classified Carla as “people like her” couldn’t live in his apartments due to being scared that she wasn’t normal enough to live on their own. Carla’s mother would then defend her daughter and say she was “not different but very unique”. Although the mother wasn’t really supportive or stable enough to cope with Carla it wasn’t because she didn’t love her but because she loved her too much she didn’t want Carla to leave the nest or start her own life she wanted to baby her and keep her at home away from the negativity and bullying. Another barrier Carla faced, was being social, and the ability to have her own job.

When Carla is able to finally able to attend high school she is laughed at and bullied at and harassed the minute she walks in, however it didn’t bother her because she was so excited to be at school. Seeing all the girls in school dressed differently with makeup made Carla insecure at times, she would go home asking her mom to put makeup on her and she would look at herself in the mirror and try to adjust her clothing to show skin like the girls in high school who would get the boys attention. Again, Carla’s family was wealthy so they didn’t let her work, so she never bothered trying to see if she could possibly find employment.

Carla becomes emotionally stable when she meets a classmate who is mentally challenged like her, in fact she meets him because she defends him while getting bullied at school. They do fall in love, and when they do her mother believes she can do better, her dad is supportive and loves her like everything else, while her family just thinks it’s a joke along with her sisters. They don’t believe its normal for her to be in love and have a boyfriend, until the moment he gets up to propose to her during her own sisters wedding reception. He does get out of hand because he was embarrassed he wasn’t good enough for her family, so he shares too much to the audience that he believed him and Carla were in love because they had “sex on thanksgiving and that’s why they loved each other” so he wanted to marry her. None the less, all it did was make the crowd burst into laughter which is another barrier Carla undergoes. Her family and friends, and society found it easy to take advantage of her disability and make fun of her.

The director of the movie is Garry Marshall, and in my opinion I believe his only hope in the message was to prove that disabilities should never be misjudged or under estimated. He wanted to show society what individuals with disabilities under go and how ugly society can be towards them. None the less, he proves in his message that anyone, and everyone can succeed no matter what barriers and challenges are faced, but more than anything I believe his message was to defend those who do have disabilities. Garry wanted to prove and make a statement, that earning respect and independence can be done even when mentally challenged. I also believe this message, is pointed out to those parents and family who undergo barriers with a family member who faces a disability, he wants them to know to never limit the independence, and never think less of their daughter or son, and to always push them not bring them back. Garry in fact, did prove his message because he shows what barriers can do, but also how they can help an individual grow stronger.

Throughout the movie, Carla and Daniel the boyfriend who was mentally challenged as well were portrayed as strong individuals. Disregarding the little break downs they both would have when bullied, they both played strong roles in wanting to be independent. The fact that Daniel works, lives on his own, joined by Carla who was then able to live on her own as well shows how they beat their disability, the disability didn’t beat them or takeover their life. They both were portrayed with ambition, and hope in which they both proved. After all the barriers they faced, they were able to marry each other, and gain the support from everyone, and they only did that on their own from being strong and never giving up.

Lastly, what made me grab attention and choose this movie from the list was the fact that it mentioned “sister” I’m a sister of 5 who has been through so much with my sisters, any movie that mentions sister, I want to watch because most times, it reminds me of how much I love my sisters, or how I can even relate to scenes from the movies with my sister. Before watching it, I already had an idea that it would probably be about a sister with a disability who lacked attention because the other sister was normal and I was in fact right.

Being quite honest since the movie was from 1999 I didn’t have high hopes for it, I was thinking it would be an old fashion movie, but it actually beat my expectations more than anything I was really glad I chose this movie. I agree with every point from Carla’s point of view, I agree that even though she was mentally challenged she could be independent and do anything and everything she wished for. On the other hand, the mother at first, thought that she should be limited to living life, and that she should just stay a little girl forever I didn’t agree with that because it only brought more barriers to Carla, the more she got out the more ambition she gained to want to be better.

The other sister was a really great film that inspired me to keep perusing my career in rehab, because our society now in days does lack support for those with disabilities. I highly recommend this movie to not only rehab majors, but any individual who has a family member with a disability that’s facing barriers they think they can’t over come, and to anyone in general who doesn’t think or believe in individuals with disabilities can become something this movie is a true inspiration. To anyone who watches I’m sure they will gain inspiration, to those who don’t fight a disability, this movie will make you appreciate life and want to do more because there are some individuals out there who fight to live a good life.

“The Other Sister” Movie Analysis essay

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“The Other Sister” Movie Analysis. (2021, Oct 27). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-other-sister-movie-analysis/


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