Critics Consensus

Clever yet clearly indebted to the masters of the genre, Sisters offers an early glimpse of De Palma at his stylishly crafty peak.



Total Count: 35


Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,084
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Movie Info

Reporter Jennifer Salt thinks she has witnessed a murder; apparently, Margot Kidder is the killer and Lisle Wilson is the victim. By the time the authorities arrive on the scene, there is not one scintilla of evidence. With a private eye's help, Salt gets to the bottom of things.

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Margot Kidder
as Danielle Breton
Jennifer Salt
as Grace Collier
Charles Durning
as Joseph Larch
William Finley
as Emil Breton
Bill Finley
as Emil Breton
Lisle Wilson
as Phillip Woode
Barnard Hughes
as Mr. McLennen
Mary Davenport
as Mrs. Collier
Dolph Sweet
as Detective Kelley
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News & Interviews for Sisters

Critic Reviews for Sisters

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (8)

  • The succession of references stops just short of the risible, while the use of the split-screen to show scenes from different angles and the elaborate tracking shots indicate the arrival of a prodigious new stylist forging an original signature.

    Oct 3, 2018 | Full Review…

    Philip French

    Top Critic
  • An expertly paced, technically audacious thriller that's too knowing to be easily dismissed as a mere exercise.

    Oct 3, 2018 | Full Review…

    Keith Phipps

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • Sisters is a good psychological murder melodrama... Brian De Palma's direction emphasizes exploitation values which do not fully mask script weakness.

    Oct 3, 2018 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • De Palma's 1972 thriller is the first of his films to assemble all his signature traits ― Gothic excess, stylistic bravado, a freewheeling approach to plot construction, and a manner of borrowing from Hitchcock that is as much parody as homage.

    Sep 14, 2018 | Full Review…
  • A dead end -- the mark of a superficial stylist unable to take anything seriously, including his own work.

    Sep 24, 2007 | Full Review…
  • There is much early evidence of [De Palma's] rampant misogyny, his increasingly blatant stealings from Hitchcock, and most unforgivable of all, his clear distaste for the people he creates.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Sisters

  • Apr 02, 2014
    Despite all its technical failures, (continuity, visible crew/equipment) the film is decently scripted and incredibly acted. The main issue is that it's only 2/3 of a film. It emulates Hitchcock's style far too much to stand on its own and furthermore the plot simply doesn't resolve.
    Jason 123 D Super Reviewer
  • Oct 16, 2013
    Brian DePalma has often been accused of plagiarizing Hitchcock and there is little doubt that 'Sisters' was heavily influenced by the master of misdirection, but that doesn't prevent it from being a sly, punctilious sleeper in DePalma's oeuvre. Before she was diagnosed with mental illness offscreen, Margot Kidder portrayed an innocuous demeanor onscreen and she is flawlessly cast as Danielle, a somewhat promiscuous model with an outrageously garbled French accent. As much as an exercise in florid style as a murder mystery, DePalma utilizes his vintage cinematic array of split-screens, point-of-view shots and fish-eye lens (William Finley is especially frightening with this technique) for truly unsettling results. A scene where a carcass is concealed inside a couch is neoclassic Hitchcock due to the doses of black comedy since the audience is acutely aware of it while the neighbor and police officers frantically scour the apartment for it. The womb opening set to an operatic Bernard Herrmann (of 'Psycho' notoriety) score is rather chilling. Once 'Sisters' flashbacks to an expository Siamese-removal sequence, viewers might be exasperated by the self-indulgent nature of the storytelling. On the other hand, DePalma's tart staging is the reason that the otherwise cloak-and-dagger plot works like gangbusters in the first place. 'Sisters' was one of DePalma's first excursions into psychosexual territory and it can construed as one of his best.
    Cory T Super Reviewer
  • Jun 08, 2013
    Sisters is the kind of movie that makes you want to bang your head against a wall for an hour and a half. It isn't exactly terrible, but it's very frustrating because its plot is driven by every single bad thriller cliché in the books. It also borrows liberally from a number of other movies, namely Hitchcock thrillers like Psycho and Rear Window, and is even scored by frequent Hitchcock collaborator Bernard Herrman. It follows journalist Grace (Jennifer Salt) who, after witnessing a woman named Danielle (Margo Kidder) murder a man, seeks to crack the case on her own. The crime is more complicated, as she soon finds out, involving siamese twins, ex-husbands, and an elusive couch. The main problem is simply that all of the characters are very stupid, and director Brian de Palma ends up treating the audience like they're stupid by tacking on forced plot twists, including the two absolute biggest mistakes you can possibly make in crafting a story. I won't reveal what those two things are because it would completely spoil the ending, but imagine the most frustrating and overused cliché in a thriller or horror movie and chances are you just solved the murder at the center of the movie. There are more frustrating moments too, like when Grace finds incriminating evidence while the police are searching the apartment but then oops, she stumbles and drops it, destroying it in the process. Oh, and don't forget during the same scene when the camera zooms in to reveal a fairly large blood stain in plain sight, but neither Grace nor the police notice it. Yeah, these are not intelligent characters. The movie gets suspenseful at times, but it's frequently derailed by more of these annoyances, almost all of which can be attributed to the cheesy script written by Brian de Palma. Despite these jarring annoyances and the pretty weak script, Margot Kidder and Jennifer Salt both give good performances. Margot Kidder is especially impressive as the absent-minded murderess who vehemently denies not only murdering, but also simply knowing the dead man. Sisters isn't an abomination of a movie, but it's an incredibly mediocre thriller that takes a story with at least of potential, then makes countless mistakes by making it a cookie-cutter Hitchcock rip-off. Brian de Palma has made a number of great thrillers, but Sisters is most definitely not one of them. Save yourself the hour and a half and watch something else.
    Joey S Super Reviewer
  • Mar 19, 2013
    Sisters is my official introduction to De Palma, and it's a damn hard one to top. The low budget psychological thriller was highly flawed. The sound was in poor quality, and not always in sync. The supporting actors weren't always believable, and there were times when the movie itself wasn't believable. But despite this all the film had me hooked from the opening scene where it's a view in the womb. Then the cheesy TV show scene dragged me farther in, and it kept me until the credits. The film is intense, and while it is an imitation of Hitchcock, it's not just some poser. Sisters had many distinctive unique qualities, and is on par with most of Hitches filmography. The dual camera scenes were fascinating. This is something most critics of the film can agree on, and it's perhaps the idea that stands out the most. I'm still not sure how I feel about the end, it was certainly hypnotic, but I'm not sure if it crossed the line. De Palma uses plenty of exploitation in the film, but I found this was a large benefit. Kidder and Jennifer Salt both went all in with their acting, and it paid off. This is a masterpiece, but it might be the most flawed masterpiece I've seen. 4 stars-
    Daniel D Super Reviewer

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