Saturday, 1 April 2017

Movie Review: Your Sister's Sister (2011)


A three-person romantic drama with a glint of humour, Your Sister's Sister goes into the secluded woods to unearth and untangle quirky relationships.

In Seattle, Jack (Mark Duplass) is still depressed one year after the death of his brother Tom. Jack's best friend Iris (Emily Blunt), who was also one of Tom's former girlfriends, encourages him to spend a few days of emotional recuperation alone at her family's isolated cabin.

Jack arrives at the cabin and unexpectedly finds it occupied by Iris' lesbian sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt), who has just ended a seven year relationship. After a night of heavy drinking Jack and Hannah have awkward sex. The next morning things get much more complicated when Iris shows up at the cabin, ready to start expressing her true feelings towards Jack.

An independent production directed by Lynn Shelton and filmed over 12 days for a budget of $125,000, Your Sister's Sister is an enjoyable hike through rocky relationship terrain. The film perhaps fails to reach any emotional heights, but maintains a steady pace of evolution as three adults arrive unexpectedly at the same crossroads.

The film features plenty of improvisation, and the naturalistic interaction between Jack, Iris and Hannah pays off. With limited camera movement Shelton achieves a perfect fly-on-the-wall perspective, providing the three characters freedom to just develop on screen unencumbered by a script trying to be too clever.

The superficial simplicity of the premise cleverly hides a few key hidden agendas. While it's logical to assume from the earliest scenes that Jack pines for Iris, the secrets carried by Iris and Hannah provide juicy onion layers for Shelton to peel away.

Your Sister's Sister convincingly creates real people carrying long-term commitments and relationship investments, allowing them to navigate choppy waters. The film captures the genuine bond of friendship between Iris and Jack, and the even stronger sibling connection between Iris and Hannah. Mark Duplass, the furthest thing from a handsome leading man, adds to the sense of reality, while Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt generate genuine sisterly warmth infused with the expected tensions.

Seductively sparse and simple, Your Sister's Sister does not try to shine bright, but certainly shimmers.






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