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6 Degrees Entertainment

'The Sisters'
(Elizabeth Banks, Maria Bello, et al / DVD / R / (2005) 2006 / Anchor Bay Ent.)

Overview: Based on Anton Chekov's "The Three Sisters" about siblings living in a college town who struggle with the death of their father and try to reconcile relationships in their own lives.

DVD Verdict: Chekhov's countryman Leo Tolstoy said that "every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Maybe so, the Prior/Prozorov family is certainly unhappy (and as some negative reviews have indicated, insufferable) in a way many of us would hope to avoid, but their pain is nevertheless accessible in this story. Anyone considering this film should go in knowing that it deals with a painful story of wounded souls. If you're not up for the genre, pass on this out of hand. It starts off sad and gets sadder. Hey, it's Chekhov for goodness sake. And speaking of Chekhov, it's theatre, so be prepared for the mannered dialog and the fact that most of the story takes place on a single set. Everyone in the cast turns in a top-notch and complex performance that allows the viewer to have compassion for characters one would most wish to avoid in real life. As Donald Rumsfeld might say, you go through life with the family you have, not the family you'd wish to have. The story here is how Prior/Prozorov family goes through that life and how they pay the price for the choices they make and the circumstances they couldn't avoid. If you're up for a glimpse into their journey, you will enjoy this story. Finally I'd say that the DVD is a tad bit overpriced for a production of this type that includes little in the way of extras. Perhaps rent and don't buy?! This is a Widescreen presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of a Commentary by director Arthur Allan Siedelman and writer Richard Alfieri.