My Sister Maria (2002)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Eighteen years after his acclaimed 1984 documentary on Marlene Dietrich, actor/director Maximilian Schell has created another moving portrait of a German-speaking actress, this time his own sister. Meine Schwester Maria documents the rapid rise and decline of Maria Schell, the briefly beloved star of such films as Die Ratten and The Brothers Karamosov. Using excerpts of her feature films along with home movie footage, Schell explores the high points his sister's career throughout the 1950s, as well as the personal problems that cast her into obscurity only a decade later. The film offers quite a few emotional peaks, especially when an elderly Maria Schell goes before her brother's camera to speak candidly about her life, and a suicide attempt which she refers to as her "first death." ~ Connor McMadden, Rovi
Art House & International , Documentary , Television
Directed By:
TLA Releasing

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Critic Reviews for My Sister Maria

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (7)

It's not easy to classify Maximilian Schell's occasionally clumsy but always touching tribute to his actress sister, and it's equally difficult not to be moved by it.

August 20, 2004
Seattle Times
Top Critic

It is meant to be a loving and sad portrait of a fading life, but it feels intrusive, excessively brooding and narcissistic.

Full Review… | August 6, 2004
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Bbrave, heartless, and exceedingly strange.

Full Review… | July 9, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Aa heartfelt but eccentric, pseudo-documentary.

Full Review… | July 3, 2004
Washington Post
Top Critic

Maximilian's narcissistic examination of his theatrical family -- to the degree that he shows us photos of ancestors even he doesn't know -- can be boring, and his creative license with the truth is kind of troubling.

Full Review… | June 18, 2004
Boston Globe
Top Critic

A thoughtful look backward, a summing up that attempts to understand what is ephemeral and what truly lasts, what it is that matters in the final analysis.

Full Review… | June 10, 2004
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for My Sister Maria


With this film, actor Maximilian Schell looks back at the acting career of his sister Maria and incidentally also provides a rare, insightful look at the post-war West German film industry which also gave us Hardy Kruger, Oskar Werner and Curt Jurgens. In the present day, Maria is suffering from dementia, leading to grave financial problems and for her to feel as one person puts it as if she is in another reality altogether. That last part is expressed perfectly by of all things clips from “Deep Impact.” All of which Maximilian Schell uses in a non-traditional manner that owes more to narrative tradition than documentaries, creating a hybrid film that expresses his elegiac sentiments well.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Sad view of a once strong and renowned woman who descends into the maelstrom of mental illness and infirmity.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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