Perfect Sisters is by far the worse film I have forced myself to watch for Screen Scholars, and I have absolutely no compunction when it comes to a Lifetime movie.
The film exists at an odd intersection of poor quality and good acting: Mira Sorvino stars at alcoholic mother Linda Andersen, with Abigail Breslin and Georgie Hensley as her desperate, murderous daughters, Sandra and Beth. Hensley is considered a talented actress, at least for her roles in the Narnia films, but her work is as poor as the rest of the film—inexplicably bland, like wallpaper paste. Sorvino is staggeringly awful, but Breslin is great—the problem then is that the film itself is just abysmal. It’s so bad, so disappointingly boring that if it weren’t based on a true story it would never have been made and released.
Oh, but it was: Perfect Sisters is a Canadian film based on journalist Bob Mitchell’s The Class Project: How to Kill a Mother. The film attempts to paint a sympathetic portrait of two teenagers who have barely survived poverty, abuse, and social scorn as a result of their mother’s alcoholism, and plot to kill her so they won’t live in fear anymore. Teenage gossip and the girls’ exuberance eventually gives them away.
Canadians did not like this, given that the Bathtub Girls, as the Andersen sisters were known, were widely regarded to be cold, calculating killers who plotted to kill their mother because they were jealous of teenagers who were better off than they were. Both sisters were found guilty and sentenced to ten years in jail and have been released.
Like so many bad Lifetime movies before it, Perfect Sisters lets its victim down as a result of its poor quality. It is, however, one of the few of its kind available on Netflix.