A mysterious nun named Molly and a wistful makeup artist named Dee have achieved exactly what they wished for, yet they find themselves dissatisfied. As they both wait for a bus that will take them to meetings that could change their fates, they discover that they are connected to each other in cosmic ways.
This whimsical comedy — written by co-star Beth Hoyt and directed by Nicole Emanuele — begins a narrative premise that sounds like the set-up to a quirky joke: “A nun and a makeup artist wait at a bus stop…” But as the film unfolds in a uniquely charming way, this set-up resembles more a millennial, quirky take on a Zen koan, inviting insight into the mysterious laws of the universe and cosmic connection.
Not much “happens” in terms of plot in the film, but directorial flights of fancy, along with an off-kilter but intriguing sense of visuals, consistently generate intrigue and exert a captivating pull on patient viewers.
The writing captures the singular voice of each character, and their dialogue together has a stylized rhythm, revealing personalities and histories that are brought to life by actors Hoyt and Shoniqua Shandai in a delightful ease and chemistry. We discover their histories, which parallel one another in the same magical-realist way, and how they’re both at a crossroads right at the moment they meet.
The real magic, however, is found in the detours that the film takes from the main conversation. Creative, fun and lyrical, these musical interludes are a sensory delight with their lyrical camera movement and bright and optimistic colors.
But these numbers also show both Molly and Dee in literal sync — a quality of synchronicity that is echoed in the way their conversation overlaps and the similar mannerisms they have. As the characters discover parallels and echoes in one another’s lives and personalities, the writing sets up a puzzle of just how much they’re connected — and also how much they may change one another’s lives.
It’s hard to encapsulate the overall meaning or feeling of “Sisters” within a logline or synopsis since so much of its charm comes from a singular, committed voice and vision. In its self-contained reveries, its bright and artful visuals and its unearthing of poetry under the surfaces of ordinary life and people, it resembles the earlier work of Paul Thomas Anderson — think more “Punch Drunk Love” than “Phantom Thread” — and becomes an oddly enchanting fable about connection and abundance. For Molly and Dee, the magic isn’t getting what we wish for –but that we find what we need from one another, bringing us closer together in connection and a strange, mysterious harmony.