The Sisters Brothers (2018) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Sisters Brothers (2018)



Critic Consensus: The Sisters Brothers rides familiar genre trails in occasionally unexpected ways - a satisfying journey further elevated by its well-matched leading men.

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From acclaimed director Jacques Audiard (Rust and Bone, A Prophet), and based on the novel by Patrick deWitt, THE SISTERS BROTHERS is a reimagining of the cinematic Western as a dangerous, witty, and emotionally cathartic exploration of what it means to be a man. It is 1851, and Charlie and Eli Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly) are both brothers and assassins, boys grown to men in a savage and hostile world. They have blood on their hands: that of criminals, that of innocents...and they know no state of existence other than being gunmen. The older of the two, introspective Eli (Reilly) rides hard with his younger sibling yet dares to dream of a normal life. The younger of the two, hard-drinking Charlie (Phoenix) has taken charge with gusto as lead man on the duo's assignments. Each increasingly questions, and quibbles with, the other's methods. The Sisters brothers find themselves on a journey through the Northwest, bringing them to the mountains of Oregon, a dangerous brothel in the small town of Mayfield, and eventually, the Gold Rush land of California - a journey that will test the deadly family ties that bind. But, can it also be the path to rediscovering what remains of their humanity? THE SISTERS BROTHERS also stars Jake Gyllenhaal as learned scout John Morris and Riz Ahmed as fugitive chemist Hermann Kermit Warm.

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John C. Reilly
as Eli Sisters
Joaquin Phoenix
as Charlie Sisters
Jake Gyllenhaal
as John Morris
Riz Ahmed
as Hermann Kermit Warm
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Critic Reviews for The Sisters Brothers

All Critics (201) | Top Critics (40)

Neither a nostalgic throwback to traditional westerns nor a revisionist antiwestern, this advances a positive view of camaraderie between individualist western types while subtly critiquing the unfettered capitalist system in which they operate.

March 3, 2020 | Full Review…

Erudite, visceral and chuckle-worthy, this western is based on Patrick deWitt's novel and starts out as the story of two gun-toting, chalk-and-cheese brothers, only to become more mysterious.

April 7, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

It's a measure of the four exceptional central performances (from Reilly, Phoenix, Gyllenhaal and Ahmed) that the film remains so engaging in spite of its narrative digressions and moments of very bleak violence.

April 5, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

It's an extraordinary film.

April 3, 2019 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Reilly carries the film, with a performance that's elegantly caught between Eli's loyalty and his desire to be free of his crazy kinsman.

March 7, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

"The Sisters Brothers" often feels like a journey in search of a destination.

October 12, 2018 | Rating: C | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Sisters Brothers


Certainly the better of the two Westerns I've seen today, but I'm also not really feeling the love with Sisters Brothers like everybody else seems to be.

Gimly M.
Gimly M.

Super Reviewer


The early Westerns seemed to love to act the imagined nobility of King Arthur's court. Everyone had a higher purpose or calling ('cept the bad guys), "making the world safe for decent people." Not so as we creep into the light of modern day when the adventurers are portrayed in film more or less as opportunists looking to get over, and why not? And so we meet the Sister Brothers, assassins who love their jobs and really only hate the boredom of the interludes in between killing and taking what they want. Are they monsters for this? This work doesn't think so and looks for the humanity in our protagonists. When they aren't killing somebody. Good stuff.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


The film takes a while to find a focus and tell us what it wants to do with its seemingly flat characters, but then becomes a more interesting story about civilization versus barbarity in a world filled with dirt, diseases and death, even though the ending is somehow underwhelming.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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