Your Sister’s Sister is director Lynn Shelton’s follow up to the critically acclaimed Humpday. Once again reuniting this promising director with fellow filmmaker Mark Duplass, Shelton’s latest is ostensibly a chamber piece built upon foundations of contemporary attitudes towards sex, friendship and love, which simultaneously looks to examine the inexplicable strength of family.
Iris (Emily Blunt) is concerned for her friend Jack (Duplass), worried that the death of his brother (also her ex-boyfriend) has hit him harder than he’s willing to accept. She kindly offers him the chance to stay at her family’s island getaway in order to enjoy some peace and solitude, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. However when he arrives Jack discovers the remote rural cabin isn’t entirely uninhabited, with Iris’s sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) currently using the house as a place to drown her sorrow’s after ending a 7-year relationship. The pair share a drunken evening which inevitably leads to an alcohol fuelled mistake which only reveals the magnitude of its implications when Iris surprises them both with an unexpected visit – leading to a tense series of encounters which look set to end in tears.
Ignore the misguided advertising promoting the film as a quirky rom-com as Shelton’s Your Sister’s Sister has far more in common with the mumblecore Indies that have slowly began to saturate the market than it does the latest Richard Curtis romp. However, whilst finding itself amongst a horde of similar uncomfortable exposes of modern American middle class problems Shelton’s film contains an endearing charisma, which is hard not to admire.
Consisting of numerous examples of refreshingly natural dialogue, Shelton’s script is littered with just enough humor that its overly intellectual prose never feels too contrived. Indeed, it the film’s cleverly orchestrated exchanges between this ménage-et-trois of minds that is the most compelling aspect of this deliciously simple but effective film.
Despite a thoroughly enjoyable middle act the film does sadly loose its way ever so slightly when the action leaves the confines of Iris and Hannah’s father’s rustic log cabin. Up until this point Shelton does a masterful job of containing the film’s ‘Elephant in the room’, building a naturally evolving atmosphere of tension which lingers over ever conversation and action of the film’s trio of damaged souls. However, once the ‘cats out of the bag’ the film’s heightened emotions deflate into a collection of overly somber and brooding scenes of self-pity and monotonous self-reflection. Shelton thankfully manages to grab hold of the reigns and steer Your Sister’s Sister back on course before the film’s delightfully ambiguous conclusion, however it remains a shame that this engrossing tale of sibling relations and unconsummated love should suffer such a narrative dip.
Your Sister’s Sister is undeniably a beautifully crafted, naturalistic and thoroughly enjoyable romantic comedy of errors than successfully manages to travers the usual trappings of such an emotionally weighted subject and become one of this year’s most enjoyable experiences
Your Sister’s Sister is in cinemas 29th June 2012.
Director: Lynn Shelton
Stars: Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt
Runtime: 90 min