Lynn Shelton’s new film Your Sister’s Sister stars Emily Blunt as “Iris,” with Rosemarie DeWitt as her sister “Hannah” and Mark Duplass as her best friend “Jack.” There is no convenient genre label for Your Sister’s Sister. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, Your Sister’s Sister deftly walks the line between comedy and drama, and I would never have predicted the resolution midway through. Shelton had my total attention from the first scene to the last. Brava! Click HERE for our FF2 haiku.
Your Sister’s Sister begins at a memorial service for a man named Tom, but just like in that much loved classic The Bill Chill, Tom has no role other than to haunt the living. The people Tom haunts are his brother “Jack” (Mark Duplass) and his girl friend “Iris” (Emily Blunt). Jack knows he’s supposed to say all those warm, wonderful things you say about people when they’re dead (especially when someone dies as young as Tom died), but as soon as he starts speaking, Jack’s eulogy turns into an embittered melt down.
Iris decides that Jack needs some alone time (clearly he’s not fit for any normal social interactions quite yet), so she sends him off to her family’s vacation home (a cozy old house on some Pacific island that can only be reached by a ferry from Seattle). But surprise, surprise: When Jack arrives, someone is already there!
It turns out that Iris has a sister named “Hannah” (Rosemarie DeWitt), and Hannah, who has also come to the end of a longterm relationship, is also in need of some recovery time. But there they are, alone together, and out comes the tequilla bottle: uh oh! But if you think you know where all this is headed, you’ll be wrong, so best to just settle in and let writer/director Lynn Shelton tell you all about love and loss and sibling rivalry; somehow, in spite of everything, life goes on.
Your Sister’s Sister is wonderfully acted and well-paced, with naturally-flowing dialogue and surprising plot twists. I came to care very much about these three people, even though I was a bit annoyed about the fact that I didn’t really understand where their money was coming from. (What did these people do for a living? Did any of them have any professional ambitions? Shelton clearly isn’t concerned with any of these mundane details.)
The central POV belongs to Iris, and even though she’s missing from many of the early scenes, you can always sense her presence. Blunt is a terrific actress and she deserves great parts like this. DeWitt, on the other hand, seems born to play supporting roles, always adding just a bit of extra emotional gravitas. Duplass (who is a friend of Shelton’s) is best known for the low-budget films he makes with his brother Jay, but to judge from IMDb, he seems to be expanding his range as an actor too. Together with Shelton, these three make quite a team: I laughed; I cried; I had a great time 🙂
Photo Credits: IFC Films