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Movie Review: Your Sister’s Sister

July 4, 2012
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With indie films, you never know exactly what you are going to get. Every once in a while you get a nice surprise. Thus is the case with Your Sister’s Sister, written and directed by Lynn Shelton (Humpday).

The always-charming Mark Duplass plays Jack, who is struggling with his grief one year after the death of his brother Tom. Jack gives an incredibly inappropriate and embarrassing toast at a eulogy for his brother that prompts his best friend Iris (Emily Blunt) to intervene (she used to date Tom). She thinks a stay at her family cabin will reinvigorate Jack and help him pull his life back together.

Jack takes her advice, but is surprised to find Iris’s sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) using the cabin. She has just gotten out of a seven-year relationship with her girlfriend, and was hoping to drown her sorrows (alone). The two make the most of the situation, and get to know one another over copious amounts of Tequila shots. This leads to a drunken hookup that is awkward for several reasons-namely Hannah is a lesbian, and Iris will likely be hurt that the two slept together. Complications ensue when Iris pops up unexpectedly the next day.

A clever script uncovers some truly unpredictable developments, but it is the outstanding cast that sells the movie. The film was largely improvised, adding to the authenticity of the character’s interactions. DeWitt and Blunt have great chemistry as sisters and convincingly depict the raw emotions that are laid bare at the cabin.  DeWitt has made some really interesting choices in her career  (The Company Men, Rachel Getting Married, Mad Men) and she is able to play a wide range of characters with ease. You absolutely buy that she’s a heartbroken, vegan lesbian who explains her aversion to butter as “I’m emotionally allergic to it”. I’m a disciple of all things Duplass, but I think this is one of his best performances to date. The trio of actors is excellent.

The whole movie (save the intro scene) takes place in and around the cabin, with a beautifully serene lake adding to the visual appeal. I can see this movie as a stage play, and the dialogue heavy script feels like a play. If you don’t like wordy movies, don’t bother.

The film packs an emotional wallop during its hour and a half running time. It’s hysterically funny at times, but extremely touching –Sister runs you through a gamut of emotions as it explores family, friendship, love and betrayal. It’s the stuff indie film lovers dream of.

Rating 4/5

 

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