The Other Sister

1999 PG-13 2h 9m DVD

The Other Sister

1999 PG-13 2h 9m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
Carla Tate (Juliette Lewis) has an independent streak a mile wide. Trouble is, she's mentally handicapped, and her overprotective parents (Diane Keaton and Tom Skerritt) have misgivings about her getting her own apartment and pursuing a relationship with another mentally challenged person (Giovanni Ribisi). An emotional tour de force for Lewis, The Other Sister is ultimately a triumphant story of perseverance in the face of long odds.
Diane Keaton, Juliette Lewis, Tom Skerritt, Giovanni Ribisi, Poppy Montgomery, Sarah Paulson, Linda Thorson, Tracy Reiner, Dina Merrill
Garry Marshall
Widescreen 2.35:1
English: Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
PG-13 - Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.
age 13+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 13+
age 13+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that this film explores the challenges that a family faces when their developmentally-disabled daughter fights for independence and reacts to her own growing sexuality. The filmmakers take great care to introduce the young lovers (both of whom are mentally impaired) to sex in a mature and sensitive way. There is some kissing and they begin to undress, but with no actual nudity or foreplay. Language includes some terms associated with the human reproductive system. "Doing it" is the only way sexual intercourse is described. A young woman is seen in bed with her female sexual partner, and their lesbianism provides a separate challenge to some members of the family. There is alcohol consumption in social settings, and the young male lead purposefully gets drunk on two occasions and misbehaves.

Sexual Content

The issue of mentally-challenged young people engaging in sexual activity is a main story element. The two people involved read and study The Joy of Sex to educate themselves. "Doing it" is a repeated euphemism for intercourse. The couple kisses, undresses to their underwear, and moves off camera to make love. Another character is involved in a monogamous lesbian relationship, the acceptance of which by her family is another plot point.


A child, upset by a group of other children who are teasing her, pushes one of them down a flight of carpeted stairs. He is not injured.


Though there is no swearing or harsh language, sexual terms are used on a few occasions: "penis," "semen," "sperm," "vulva," ""doing it.""

Social Behavior

People with differences and/or disabilities deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Loving someone asks that you give them the freedom to be their best selves. Likewise, good parenting requires that you love your children as they are, not as how you would like them to be.



Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Some social drinking: dinner table, wedding. One main character gets drunk on two occasions and his outrageous behavior affects the story's outcome. Another character is identified as a recovering alcoholic.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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