The Other Sister - The Movie Review Example

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Vanderbilt University
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Movie review
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The movie that I viewed for the assignment was The Other Sister. I viewed it two days before the assignment's deadline. The movie is written by Garry Marshall, Blair Beechwood, Bob Brunner and Alexandra Rose. Its release date was 26th February 1999 by which the main characters include Juliette Lewis (Carla Tate), Diane Keaton (Elizabeth Tate), Giovanni Ribisi (Daniel McMahon), Tom Skerritt (Dr. Radley Tate) and Sarah Paulson (Heather Tate). In the movie, Carla is disliked by her sisters. She was sent to school for children with intellectual handicaps while still very young by which she returns home when she is mature. Her mother, Elizabeth, who can be perceived as overbearing, and her father, Radley, who is very patient, struggles with the idea of Carla becoming independent particularly on Carlas ambition to attend college and be in a relationship with Danny. Danny, in this case, has the same impairment as Carla (Marshall, 1999).

Clearly identify at least four different examples from the movies of how limitations in cognition (e.g. comprehension, memory, meta-cognition etc.) were portrayed by the character with mental retardation.

An example in the movie on the limitation of cognition is the connection between thought and speech by which for individuals like Carla, the connection is quite slow. An example is a scene depicting this is when Carla observes her old room which had been reorganized by Elizabeth. Carla is unable to provide immediate response when Elizabeth questions her closing of her eyes. Another aspect is the inability to follow directions. A scene illustrating this incapability is when Carla boards several buses to arrive at Daniels house. She had to commute in five buses due to the inability to abide by the instructions provided by the brothers. If Carla were able to read the information on buses and understand the directions, it would have been easier to arrive at Daniels house. Inability to make adequate cognitive associations is also depicted in the film. A scene illustrating this incapability is when Carla is engaged in a conversation with her mother on intimacy. Carla fails to associate the view on being taken advantage of and putting gum under a table. The movie also illustrates the limitation in reasoning for individuals who are intellectually impaired. Carla is perceived not to ponder on her thoughts when making decisions adequately. A scene depicting this is when Carla and her mother are in an event where her mother was receiving an award. Carla causes some dogs to bark and then tries to calm them down. She tried to open a gate for her to be close to the dogs but the animals overpowered Carla (Marshall, 1999). If she had thought about the consequences of her actions, she wouldnt have opened the gate.

Describe four (4) specific scenes from the movie that portray limitations in daily living skills (e.g. eating, dressing, preparing meals, taking medications, using the telephone, managing money, using transportation, housekeeping activities, work activities, maintaining a safe environment, etc.)

A scene that shows a limitation in daily living skills is Carlas inability to follow directions when visiting Danny adequately. This makes her use five buses instead of one. Another scene is when Carlas mother arranges Carlas room with the view that she is unable to do it. Carla also takes time to respond to conversations whereby she has to be called more than once. Another scene is her being in the school where she is unable to start conversations with her classmates (Marshall, 1999).

Clearly describe two (2) different scenes from the movie of how speech or language limitations were portrayed by the character with intellectual disabilities.

An example of a situation where speech limitation is depicted was the distortion of noise or sound when Carla spoke. Carla's father shared a joke with her by which she chuckled in a sharp and uproarious tone. Another speech limitation was stuttering. Whenever Daniel and Carla were at the train station, Daniel often repeated the phrase 'this one' for about five times to describe the type of bus that he used. It can be perceived that the stuttering occurred when the characters were excited. It appeared this faltering would happen when the characters would get energized. Also, the speech was also a bit slower for those with intellectual disability when compared to those without. An example is when Daniel requested Carla be his better half. The word girlfriend appeared to be extended (Marshall, 1999).

Describe (2) specific scenes from the movie of how a physical abnormality or limitation in gain, coordination or balance was portrayed by the character with intellectual disabilities.

A physical abnormality depicted in the film is the leaving of ones mouth open for individuals with intellectual disability. Carla is seen severally leaving her mouth open which is quite unusual for individuals who are normal. A good example is when taking a ride to school where throughout the journey, her mouth was open and also when she was walking in school. Another abnormality is the curling of hands whereby Carla involuntarily engages in the action in several scenes. A good example is when she is at Daniels house whereby she curls her hands while talking to him when seated on a couch (Marshall, 1999).

Describe at least two (2) specific scenes from the movie of how inappropriate behavior or limitations in social skills were portrayed by the character with intellectual disabilities.

An example of a scene depicting limitations in social skills for individuals with intellectual disabilities is when Carla demonstrates the inability to flirt while in college. Carla sees her classmate flirting with one of her professors whereby she tries to engage in the behavior at home while looking in the mirror. This type of behavior mostly occurs when girls are in the adolescent stage. Another scene is when Carla talks loudly when engaged in a conversation about sex with her mother. Her mother tries to cue to her that it is inappropriate to talk about it loudly in a public setting but Carla fails to understand the cues (Marshall, 1999).

Discuss the impact of intellectual disability upon the family members of the character with the disability, as portrayed in the movie (3 points).

An impact of intellectual disability upon the family members is on the relationship between Carla and her siblings. Children with such disabilities require plenty of attention for them to comprehend what is taking place in their environment. In the movie, Carla receives much attention from her parents which makes her siblings despise her. When Carla returns home from the special school, the tension between her and siblings still remains especially since the mother takes charge of Carlas life. Nonetheless, at the end of the movie, Carla receives support from all her family members (Marshall, 1999).

How accurate do you believe the portrayal of the disability was? Explain your rationale, citing text content to support your opinion.

From an individual perspective, the portrayal of Carlas disability is appropriate especially since it clearly shows the challenges that people with disabilities have. It also includes the impact that the disability might have on family members especially when it is not understood. The movie includes both the behavioral and cognitive challenges that individuals with intellectual disabilities face. It also shows that, when they are exposed in a supportive environment, they are able to exhibit independence in their day to day activities. There is need to create a conducive environment for individuals with intellectual disabilities for them to thrive and exercise independence (Hunt & Marshall, 2012).

Discuss how public opinion of people with intellectual disabilities could be positively and negatively impacted by this movie.

From an individual perspective, the public opinion of the movie could be positively impacted particularly in understanding the world of the individuals affected by the disability. The movie clearly illustrates the challenges that they face and the struggle to align with others who are viewed as normal. The movie also shows the need of parents and caregivers allowing individuals with the disability to exercise independence rather than fully depending on their aid. The idea is to enable them lead a normal life.

Would you recommend this movie to others? Why or why not?? This is your chance to be a movie critic!

I would recommend the movie to others due to the movies theme on intellectual disability; I believe that most people need to understand those with the disabilities particularly due to the mislabeling which is often accorded to them. Those who do not understand the disability view the individuals as stupid rather than intellectually handicapped. Therefore, I would strongly recommend the movie.



Hunt, N. & Marshall, K. (2012). Exceptional Children and the Youth, 5th Edition. New York: Cengage Learning.

Marshall, G., Beechwood, B., Brunner, B., & Rose, A. (1999). The Other Sister. USA: Box Office.


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