Author (fullhai). Submitted on Mon, 11 Jun 2012
Director: Lynn Shelton
Writer: Lynn Shelton (screenplay)
Stars: Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt Iris invites her friend Jack to stay at her family's island getaway after the death of his brother. At their remote cabin, Jack's drunken encounter with Hannah, Iris' sister, kicks off a revealing stretch of days. We're not in Hollywood blockbuster big-budget-explosion-land anymore. Apparently there are other ways to wash away the dull moments without explosions and gigantic budgets. The plot begins as a simple weekend in the country. The dialog is mostly unscripted. Shooting without a big Hollywood budget and a crazy tight schedule, Your Sister's Sister holds our interest with the relationships of the characters. Take two sisters and one love interest and you've got the classic play of betrayal and forgiveness, the rivalry that's only paired with siblings, love that's not returned, and all sorts of human relatable fears. This is the kind of film that stays in your head long after the credit roll.There are many pleasures to be had in watching Your Sister's Sister, the fourth feature by writer/director Lynn Shelton (We Go Way Back, My Effortless Brilliance, Humpday), one of the great highlights of Tribeca 2012. For example, there is the nuanced and lived-in feel of the performances; the way each scene is meticulously mined for maximum comic/dramatic value; and the burnished cinematography that makes great use of the overcast atmosphere of the Pacific Northwest to envelop everything we see in its moody embrace. But beyond all this, there is the great pleasure of seeing Shelton so beautifully build and expand on her already impressive achievements, delivering (as always) the laughs that come from her characters being placed in rather uncomfortable situations, but adding an emotional weight that enhances both the comedic and serious moments to brilliant effect.
Shelton's two previous films My Effortless Brilliance and Humpday focused on male friendship and rivalry, and how this can often descend into a mano-a-mano battle of wills, each side loath to back down from whatever emotional position they choose to assume. Such a rivalry forms the backbone of Your Sister's Sister, but there are two significant differences. First, the relationship is between that of brothers, which serves to intensify this sort of rivalry even further, due to the emotional and familial bond that comes into play. But most importantly, this relationship has already occurred offscreen before the film begins, and is already at an end. This is because one of the brothers had been dead for a year as the action commences; we are first introduced to the surviving sibling