Movies about wayward kids are a European specialty. The new film “Sister” deepens the specialty. It’s delicately made, yet forceful in its delicacy. The writer and director Ursula Meier takes nothing special — or at least something extremely familiar (a child, left to fend for himself) — and quietly fills it with emotional meaning until you burst with tears. It took the final, breathtaking shot to realize the movie meant as much to me as it did. That’s not filmmaking. It’s sorcery.
Simon (Kacey Mottet Klein) is 12, and spends his mornings and afternoons at a ski resort in the Swiss Alps, picking goodies from unattended backpacks. He resells the top-of-the-line skis he’s stolen and buried in the snow. He makes a regular client of a Scotsman (Martin Compston) who does prep in the kitchen. He makes his way into the locker room of the other men who work at the resort and hawks sunglasses and goggles and helmets. He’s clever and savvy but vulnerable both to the limits of his youth and obvious matters of ethics. When one worker walks off with an item from Simon’s table, he basically says, Hey you didn’t pay for that, and the man says, not unthreateningly, Neither did you.