Your Sister’s Sister (2011)
(15) Running time: 90 mins
Director: Lynn Shelton
Writer: Lynn Shelton
Starring: Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass, Rosemary DeWitt
Reviewed by: David Gillespie, official HCF artist
Carrying on from the plaudits it received at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival, Lynn Shelton’s fourth film Your Sister’s Sister opened the 2012 Glasgow Film Festival to a packed house. During an amusing Q & A session, Shelton discussed how many of the scenes were improvised, a technique that she has used in her previous films. The technique pays dividends with all three characters in the story building up a strong chemistry throughout the running time. One eager GFF audience member even spent what seemed like an eternity discussing the topic of female empowerment and supremecy displayed by the sisters over the male. At one point it looked as if the cinema’s security staff were going to be called to rip the microphone from his grasp. Although bewildered by this revelation, Lynn diplomatically responded that although she never envisaged her project in that regard, she was always delighted when someone took something completely different from one of her movies.
Your Sister’s Sister opens with Iris (Emily Blunt) inviting her friend Jack (Mark Duplass) to stay at her parent’s island retreat to allow him to come to terms with the death of his brother. He accepts the offer and travels to the house only to find that Iris older sister, Hannah (Rosemary DeWitt) has the same idea after a messy breakup with her girlfriend. Although Hannah suspects Jack as some shady pervert when she catches him spying on her from a porch window, the two soon decide to drown their sorrows and discover that they hit it off rather well. When the tequila’s effects sink in the couple end up in the sack together. Complications arise when Iris turns up early the next day having taken some days off from work to support her friend. These complications begin to multiply when she confesses to her sister that she is in love with her late husband’s brother. However Hannah has also some confessing to do as she has her own motives regards the drunken night with Jack.
Projects such as Your Sister’s Sister sink or swim with the strength of their cast members. Fortunately all leads do a fantastic job. Mark Duplass is funny, infuriating and vunerable as Jack. He has lost his way and drive in life after her brother’s death and has effectively stopped living. What could have been a depressing character is the opposite due to Shelton’s upbeat script and Duplass talent for comedy. Duplass features in the film’s funniest sequence when he takes a rather lacklustre, tantrum fit on his bicycle. Emily Blunt looks stunning as always in her role of the younger sister. Her character has held a candle for Jack for many years but fears losing one of her closest friends should she commit to admitting her love for him. Her performance is first rate as usual. Rosemary DeWitt is probably the strongest character of the three. Hannah can be abrupt and rash but inside she is tortured and insecure. Yet the core of the movie is how the three leads bond and they do so as if they have been friends for years. You may have to search long and hard to find a warmer and more heartfelt film this year.