Simon (Kacey Mottet Klein) is a liar and a thief. He steals skiing equipment from the wealthy guests populating the ski resort looming over his squalid apartment. The funds he earns from their sale is shared with his sister Louise (Léa Seydoux) – when she isn’t disappearing into a never-ending procession of young men’s cars. He’s inextricably bound to Louise; two train tracks futilely circling their town, or two rail-car wires disappearing into clouds of impenetrable snow.
Sister is largely photographed with an unadorned naturalism, but don’t mistake its rough-edges for simplicity. Shots of Simon lost in a sea of white snow and craggy outcrops of rock, or framed between a shoddy road and a thundering train are demonstrative of careful visual storytelling. The film possesses an undeniable emotional weight, featuring a stunning mid-film revelation that’s at once unexpected and inevitable.
Director Ursula Meier makes it clear that Simon’s larceny isn’t some character defect but a natural outcome of his upbringing (the details – the location of his parents, for example – changing depending with whom he talks). Like those rail-car wires, Simon is simply following the path predestined for him, as the white snow beneath melts into greying sleet and sodden mud.