Sister Cities is an all-star Lifetime movie about 4 sisters and how they deal with the suicide of their mother.
The mother, Mary, is played by the always fabulous Jacki Weaver. The younger Mary is played by Amy Smart. The four adult daughters are played by Jess Weixler, Stana Katic, Troian Bellisario, and Michelle Trachtenberg. The rather odd title, Sister Cities, rises from the fact that the sisters are named Austin, Carolina, Baltimore, and Dallas respectively. Carolina was the oldest – I guess she was named before her mom got on the city name streak.
This is definitely a women’s story. It was written by Colette Freedman. The director was a man, Sean Hanish. What few men were needed in the story were there for the merest possible time.
Each of the women had a different father. The only one me met, very briefly, was Austin’s father (Alfred Molina). Molina also produced Sister Cities.
Austin lived with her mother and knew what was happening to her health. She called all her sisters home by saying that there was an accident and their mom was dead. When they arrived they found the mom dead in the bathtub. Austin hadn’t even called the police yet. The house was a mess with piles of unopened mail, a kitchen full of frozen dinner trash, and plenty of booze. The sisters hit the booze early on in the afternoon. By the time the coroner arrived, they were either literally or figuratively trashed.
We get to know a little about each sister, even though they were painted with broad strokes. Mom’s death looked like a suicide, but as time passed and the sisters interacted, we begin to question that.
The action took place in one afternoon and evening, in one location. It was a snapshot – a moment – when a family came together to deal with a world-shaking event. A few strategically placed flashbacks gave us insight into the family at different times in the past.
Jess Weixler, Stana Katic, Troian Bellisario, and Michelle Trachtenberg were terrific together. In particular the chemistry between Katic as the oldest and Bellisario as the youngest was strong.
Lifetime generally airs its original movies more than one time, so if you missed this film earlier it will probably rotate through the schedule again. It’s also available on Netflix and Amazon Video.