Sometimes, a film entrances so entirely that its plot matters little. This is the case with Turkish drama A Tale of Three Sisters (Kız Kardeşler), which follows its three headstrong heroines as each return from their jobs as live-in housemaids to live with their father – who of course immediately seeks their re-employment. Set against the stunning Turkish countryside and told with the humour and heartache inherent in all believable relationships, it oozes love for even its most difficult characters.
The plot may not cover much ground but every interaction, motivation, and decision – be they selfish or altruistic – is captured with aching honesty. Emin Alper’s script feels completely authentic in its depiction of sisterhood’s challenges and affections as well as the father’s long-term friendships; genuine laughter and distress are successfully juxtaposed.
Each performance is perfectly judged and brimming with life. As the patriarch alternately irritated by and indulgent of his daughters, Müfit Kayacan is tender but pragmatic. Cemre Ebüzziya captures the oldest sister Reyhan’s contradictory impulsiveness and sense of responsibility; hers is also a refreshingly frank portrayal of female sexual desire in her rural, patriarchal society. The middle daughter Nurhan becomes a lost and volatile soul through Ece Yüksel’s portrayal. Helin Kandemir’s Havva, the youngest, is a dutiful child slowly becoming more assured of her own choices. Outside the family, Kubilay Tunçer comes across as a fair, firm former employer of Reyhan and Nurhan and Kayhan Açıkgöz is amusingly pathetic as Reyhan’s hapless husband Veysel – until the consequences catch up.
A Tale of Three Sisters may leave its three strongly-defined, infinitely lovable protagonists before full catharsis is reached, but the honesty, humour, and steadfastness of their relationships – however externally combative – makes it a beautiful, satisfying experience. Their imperfections and heartaches serve as a reminder of these lovable character’s verisimilitude.
CAST: Cemre Ebüzziya, Ece Yüksel, Helin Kandemir, Kayhan Açıkgöz, Müfit Kayacan
DIRECTOR: Emin Alper
WRITER: Emin Alper
SYNOPSIS: After three daughters return home after their employment is terminated, a father looks to negotiate new positions while the sisters re-negotiate their relationships.