Tribeca 2012 Review: YOUR SISTER’S SISTER
With a title like YOUR SISTER’S SISTER, I was expecting to see something more along the lines of a Nicholas Sparks or Danielle Steel adaptation rather than the truly hilarious and heartfelt sort-of romantic-dramedy it turned out to be. Jack (Mark Duplass) has had a rough time dealing with the death of his brother, which happened exactly one year ago. Jack’s best friend / late brother’s ex, Iris (Emily Blunt), gives him the keys to her father’s remote cabin for a little alone time to relax and reflect on his life. Once there, he discovers Iris’ sister Hanna (Rosemarie DeWitt) is already staying at the cabin after ending a 7-year relationship with her girlfriend. After a drunken night of confession, Jack and Hanna sleep together only to be woken up the next morning by the arrival of Iris, who decided Jack shouldn’t be entirely alone after all. You may think you know where this is going but the film will still surprise you.
YOUR SISTER’S SISTER is done in the same loose and largely improvised style of Lynn Shelton’s previous films; however, it feels much more refined here. This is partly due to an upgrade in equipment but it also seems like Shelton has grown as a filmmaker both in terms of storytelling and visuals. True, there is not much story to work with but the three main characters are fully realized and a joy to watch, which is great considering they are the only ones on screen for the majority of the running time. Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt are all fantastic, bringing their roles to life with a naturalistic but never ordinary approach. Most of the comedy stems from their rapid-fire dialogue, which is equally witty and earnest.
The film is not without flaws but they are so minimal in comparison to all that it gets right. While the editing is fairly tight for this kind of style, there are a few moments that tend to linger on just a little too long, especially during a montage towards the end. Speaking of the end, I personally felt it concluded perfectly but those who prefer everything to be wrapped up may be upset when the credits begin scrolling. The story may not be the most original, nor are some of the situations, but the manner in which they are presented in makes it all feel fresh and authentic.
Despite being a fan of Shelton’s HUMPDAY and this film’s solid cast, I was just not really looking forward to seeing this. I really think the title played a large part in that but the less than riveting description found in the Tribeca guide probably didn’t help either. On the advice of several people at the festival, I gave the film a chance and I’m so glad I did. Not only was it one of the best films there but also one of the finest I’ve seen this year. IFC Films will be releasing the film next month and I highly recommend you make an effort to seek it out.