Saturday, December 17, 2011
All of this is Brandon's dirty, shameful secret. So, naturally, when his screwed-up little sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) moves herself in, the rinse and repeat pattern of his indiscretions is disrupted. Sissy has problems of her own, you see. Her issues, like his, are dangerous and damaging. We get the sense that Sissy's presence destroys Brandon. Something about her frightens him, tears at the facade he has built and reminds him of some mysterious, obfuscated past. "We're not bad people," Sissy insists, "we just come from a bad place." The nature of that place is unknown. There's a scar on their shared childhood. Is it abuse? Is it incest? All we know is that Sissy longs for someone to lean on, that she desperately wants her brother in her life while Brandon recoils at her proximity and pushes her away in an increasingly aggressive manner. We get the sense that his frustrations are two-fold, that he must fight to repress himself in her presence in part because he must appear as strong as she is weak, but also because he is incapable of divorcing his compulsion from their bloodline, that her touch is a guilt-charged temptation.