The Other Sister

The Other Sister is a 1999 American romantic comedy film directed by Garry Marshall and stars Juliette Lewis, Giovanni Ribisi, Diane Keaton and Tom Skerritt. It was filmed in Long Beach, Pasadena, and San Francisco, California.[3] The film was written by Marshall, Bob Brunner and Malia Scotch Marmo (uncredited).

The Other Sister
Other sister poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGarry Marshall
Produced by
  • Mario Iscovich
  • Alexandra Rose
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Bob Brunner
  • Garry Marshall
  • Alexandra Rose
  • Blair Richwood
Music byRachel Portman
CinematographyDante Spinotti
Edited byBruce Green
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • February 26, 1999 (1999-02-26)
Running time
130 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$35 million[2]
Box office$27.8 million[2]


After receiving a well-earned certification from a sheltered boarding school, Carla Tate (Juliette Lewis), an ambitious and mildly mentally disabled young woman, returns home to her overprotective and slightly snobby mother Elizabeth (Diane Keaton). Elizabeth seems to behave as if she is embarrassed about her youngest daughter's disability. During family discussions, Elizabeth adopts an uneasy attitude. Carla's father Radley (Tom Skerritt) is a dentist and recovering alcoholic. Carla's ambition is to seek more independence from her family by earning a diploma from a polytechnic school. When Carla meets another mentally disabled student, Daniel McMann (nicknamed "Danny") (Giovanni Ribisi), they become friends and soon fall in love together. Envying Danny's freedom, Carla convinces her parents she is capable of living on her own and moves into her own apartment. After a time, Carla and Danny become sexually active together.

Danny's independence is financially compromised when his wealthy and emotionally detached father abruptly stops sending subsistence money. Danny begins to realize that the independence he enjoyed comes with a staggering cost. Danny gets drunk, then seeks solace and insight (and a joyride in a vintage Ford Mustang convertible) from his landlord and friend, Ernie (Hector Elizondo).

During a Christmas party at the country club, nervous about his personal lot, Danny drinks too much to build up his courage to declare his love for Carla. He also tells everyone about their first time making love. A humiliated Carla bursts into tears, screaming at everyone to stop laughing at her. Although Daniel did not intend to embarrass Carla, she nonetheless refuses to see him. Over time, Carla realizes she still loves Danny and wants to see him again despite her mother's advising her otherwise. At her older sister Caroline's (Poppy Montgomery) wedding, Danny surprises Carla by showing up at the church and asks her to marry him, in a scene mimicking The Graduate, the couple's favorite film, to which she accepts.

Everyone supports their wishes except Elizabeth, who is unsure Danny can take care of himself, let alone Carla. Carla angrily tells her mother off that she is sick of her combination of three behaviors: dominance, negativity, and doubt. Also, Carla is sick of her mother constantly treating her like two things at once: an embarrassment and a handicap. Radley and her sisters Heather (Sarah Paulson) and Caroline support her decision, and the wedding is planned. At first, Elizabeth is determined not to attend, but Radley admonishes her. He said that he will walk Carla down the aisle. Finally, after realizing how selfish she has been behaving, Elizabeth relents. Outside the church, Danny surprises Carla with their school's marching band playing "76 Trombones" from The Music Man, and they are chauffeured away to their honeymoon in Ernie's prized Mustang.



The Other Sister
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedFebruary 23, 1999
LabelHollywood Records
ProducerKathy Nelson
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic      [4]

The Other Sister: Music from the Motion Picture was released on February 23, 1999. The lead song for the soundtrack was "The Animal Song" by Savage Garden. The music video for the song featured scenes from the film. It peaked at #109 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

Track listingEdit

No.TitleWriter(s)Performing artistLength
1."The Animal Song"Savage Garden4:43
2."Loving You Is All I Know"Diane WarrenThe Pretenders3:46
3."When You Say Nothing at All"Alison Krauss4:24
4."Mrs. Robinson"Paul SimonThe Lemonheads3:47
5."She Comes 'Round"Miles ZunigaFastball3:30
6."Me"Paula ColePaula Cole5:04
7."I'm Free"The Soup Dragons4:01
8."Follow If You Lead"Idina Menzel4:07
9."At Last"Joan Osborne3:07
10."Come Rain or Come Shine"Juliette Lewis4:21
11."Carla & Danny's Theme"Rachel PortmanRachel Portman5:51
Total length:46:41

All track information and credits were taken from the CD liner notes.[5]


Box officeEdit

The Other Sister opened at #3 at the North American box office making $6.6 million in its opening weekend behind Payback and 8mm, which opened at the top spot. It ultimately grossed $27.8 million in the United States and Canada, failing to recoup its $35 million budget, becoming a box office bomb.[2]

Critical receptionEdit

The film received negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film maintains a 29% rating, based on 48 reviews, with an average rating of 4.7/10. The site's consensus: "Made-for-tv drama evokes anything but real emotion."[6] Metacritic reports a 28 out of 100 rating, based on 21 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[7]

Roger Ebert rated the film at one out of four possible stars, and said the film was "shameless in its use of mental retardation as a gimmick, a prop and a plot device."[8]


Lewis was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress for her performance, where she lost to Denise Richards for The World Is Not Enough.[9]


  1. ^ "THE OTHER SISTER (12)". British Board of Film Classification. May 17, 1999. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "The Other Sister". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  3. ^ "The Other Sister (1999)". IMDb.
  4. ^ Mathew, Leslie. The Other Sister at AllMusic
  5. ^ Various Artists. “The Other Sister”. Hollywood. 1999.
  6. ^ "The Other Sister". February 26, 1999.
  7. ^ "The Other Sister Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
  8. ^ "The Other Sister Movie Review (1999)". February 26, 1999.
  9. ^ "Razzie Awards (2000)". IMDb.

External linksEdit