cinewise

Your Sister's Sister

Lynn Shelton’s Your Sister’s Sister is a revelation. It tells so much, yet refrains from saying just as much. The result is a taut and satisfying drama.

Mark Duplass is Jack - an unemployed, Pacific Northwestern, wearing plaid shirts and drinking craft ale. It’s been a year since his brother died, with whom he seems to have had an up-and-down relationship, but he hasn’t really got over it. Despite their incompatibility, they loved each other. These conflicting feelings implode during the commemorative meal his brother’s friends have arranged on the first anniversary of his death. Seeing how her best friend is going through a destructive funk, Iris (Emily Blunt) suggests he spend some time in her dad’s pad on an island in the Sound.

Reluctant at first, Jack packs up his trusted old bike and makes his way to the island. Little did he know that he would find Iris’s older recently-single half-sister, Hannah (Rosemary DeWitt), partially naked and drinking her sorrows away. The contrasting nature of Jack and Hannah is evident - he is a man-child, charming but devoid of ambition or a goal; she is sophisticated, aloof and sure of herself. Or are they?

After a tequila-soaked night, Iris unexpectedly joins them, but things have already progressed considerably. When each character slowly reveal their secrets (and hide some of them), it gets juicier and juicier.

What is remarkable about Your Sister’s Sister is that it is a free-flowing film, whose story is given enough room to breathe and progress at its own pace, but it is also a sure-footed work. It is superbly acted - there is real chemistry between all leads. Emily Blunt is especially good as the fragile and lovely Iris.

It will not write the book on film-making and there are some minor quibbles, such as the pseudo-montage transition accompanied by an indie acoustic guitar melody in the third act. But it is a nice little film, beautifully acted and incredibly rewarding. Highly recommended.