The Sisters Brothers

Critics Consensus

The Sisters Brothers rides familiar genre trails in occasionally unexpected ways - a satisfying journey further elevated by its well-matched leading men.



Total Count: 191
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Movie Info

From acclaimed director Jacques Audiard (Rust and Bone, A Prophet), and based on the novel by Patrick deWitt, THE SISTERS BROTHERS is a reimagining of the cinematic Western as a dangerous, witty, and emotionally cathartic exploration of what it means to be a man. It is 1851, and Charlie and Eli Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly) are both brothers and assassins, boys grown to men in a savage and hostile world. They have blood on their hands: that of criminals, that of innocents...and they know no state of existence other than being gunmen. The older of the two, introspective Eli (Reilly) rides hard with his younger sibling yet dares to dream of a normal life. The younger of the two, hard-drinking Charlie (Phoenix) has taken charge with gusto as lead man on the duo's assignments. Each increasingly questions, and quibbles with, the other's methods. The Sisters brothers find themselves on a journey through the Northwest, bringing them to the mountains of Oregon, a dangerous brothel in the small town of Mayfield, and eventually, the Gold Rush land of California - a journey that will test the deadly family ties that bind. But, can it also be the path to rediscovering what remains of their humanity? THE SISTERS BROTHERS also stars Jake Gyllenhaal as learned scout John Morris and Riz Ahmed as fugitive chemist Hermann Kermit Warm.

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Critic Reviews for The Sisters Brothers

All Critics (191) | Top Critics (35)

  • Erudite, visceral and chuckle-worthy, this western is based on Patrick deWitt's novel and starts out as the story of two gun-toting, chalk-and-cheese brothers, only to become more mysterious.

    Apr 7, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Reilly carries the film, with a performance that's elegantly caught between Eli's loyalty and his desire to be free of his crazy kinsman.

    Mar 7, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • "The Sisters Brothers" often feels like a journey in search of a destination.

    Oct 12, 2018 | Rating: C | Full Review…
  • For every revelation woven into the action, there's a bit of obvious philosophizing to remind you of the real point here. (It sure ain't the gunplay, though the way the six-guns spit sparks is fun to look at.)

    Oct 5, 2018 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Equal parts comedy, drama, love story and horror story, the saga simply refuses to be easily lassoed.

    Oct 4, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The movie works, it well and truly works, because the four main characters come together in ways we could never have foreseen, and the actors themselves seem surprised at the twists the story takes and where their characters fall on the curve.

    Oct 3, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic

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