Reviews of movies and TV focused on women

Sisters (Sorelle) brings family mystery from Italy

Anna Valle in Sisters

Sisters (Sorelle) is a haunting family drama series from Italy. It’s a story about the mysterious murder of the single mother of three and the people she left behind. It’s set in the picturesque Italian town of Matera, which is a character in the story, too. You can see this series on Acorn TV.

Thematically, Sisters (Sorelle) is all about the bond between sisters. Together or apart, living or dead, sisters are always in touch. In this story that bond extends to the dead woman’s mother as well.

When Elena (Ana Caterina Morariu) disappears no alarm bells ring at first. Elena is an irresponsible wild child and she regularly leaves her three kids home alone for a few days. Elena thought her 14 year old twins, Marco (Leonardo Della Bianca) and Stella (Aurora Giovinazzo) could take care of themselves and their younger brother Giulio (Niccolò Calvagna).

Loretta Goggi and Ana Caterina Morariu in Sisters (Sorelle).
Antonia and her daughter Elena in happier days.

But too many days go by, and worry sets in. Elena’s mother Antonia (Loretta Goggi) calls her older daughter. Chiara (Anna Valle) is a lawyer in Rome. She leaves Rome for what she thinks is an overnight visit to her home town. For many years Elena and Chiara have been estranged because Elena stole Chiara’s first love Roberto (Giorgio Marchesi).

Elena and Roberto married, had three kids, and are now divorced and fighting over custody of the kids.

Leonardo Della Bianca, Aurora Giovinazzo, and Anna Valle in Sisters (Sorelle)
Chiara takes on many responsibilities for Elena’s family and for solving the mystery of her disappearance

Elena’s body is found in the river. Whether it was an accident, suicide, or murder is unclear at first. Eventually, the police settle on the idea that it was murder.

Cinzia Th. Torrini directed all 6 episodes of this mystery series. She has a very impressive 29 credits as a director listed on IMDb. The episodes are long – each one is the length of a feature film. Great use was made of the setting. Matera is a hilltop town, perched above steep cliffs.

With Matera across the canyon and the caves behind them, a young Roberto, Elena, and Chiara shout their wishes into the wind.

A deep canyon separates the town from caves where other key elements of the story take place. Sometimes the camera flies over the edge of the cliffs – if you suffer from vertigo like I do that can be stomach churning. It’s beautiful, but stomach churning.

Irene Ferri and Anna Valle in Sisters
Silvia and Chiara are childhood friends

The police inspector who gets the case is Silvia, a close friend of Chiara’s. They run through a few suspects and eventually settle on Roberto, the ex-husband.

Chiara still had feelings for Roberto, all these years later. She believed in his innocence and decided to defend him in court. I didn’t really understand why she still burned for him. Many characters in this series made bad decisions based on emotion rather than reality. Chiara’s choice to stick by Roberto was one of the biggest. Especially when her much kinder co-worker Daniele (Alessio Vassallo) was so obviously in love with her.

The series had a supernatural element. Elena’s presence was felt by Chiara and her mother after she was gone. The mother often felt her close, heard her moving about. For Chiara it was messages in her dreams. There were dreams leading her to water, to the caves. Elena’s spirit could manifest in real ways – pushing things off shelves, scratching up old photos.

I didn’t have an issue with the messages from the beyond, but I did have an issue with the way the saga concluded. Once Roberto’s trial was over and the police thought they had the killer, Elena’s visits from beyond the grave stopped. But they shouldn’t have. They should have grown stronger. It destroyed some of the credibility of the spiritual aspects of the story when the haunting was not applied consistently to the end.

The ending contained a surprise twist and a dangerous threat to Chiara. Perhaps that’s why the series ended the way it did.

There were many secondary characters and subplots. Much of the story was told with flashbacks. The acting was outstanding. Even the younger cast members did a great job. Anna Valle, who is a former Miss Italy, was terrific in the lead role.

Poster for Sisters (Sorelle)

Sorry, but the preview doesn’t have English subtitles.

Is emotional Italian drama with beautiful actors and stunning scenery your thing? You’ll enjoy Sisters (Sorelle).

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