Film Review: Great Trio Elevates Lynn Shelton’s ‘Your Sister’s Sister’

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No votes yet Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Lynn Shelton’s “Your Sister’s Sister” is a character-driven piece about hidden feelings and complex relationships. Like her work on “Humpday,” Shelton has a keen ear for the way people alter their behavior as their dynamics with other people continue to shift, often in a sexual direction. When a close friend suddenly looks like something more, when a long-term relationship seems to be falling apart, when a sibling may have betrayed you – Shelton’s gift as a filmmaker is how she can traverse these emotional minefields while still staying true to her characters. Like “Humpday,” I think “Your Sister’s Sister” kind of peaks in the middle and glides to a rather predictable ending but the three performances and the way Shelton has crafted these well-drawn characters makes it worth a look.

“Your Sister’s Sister” is almost entirely a three-person piece and Shelton perfectly chose her cast – indie actor of the summer Mark Duplass (also in this week’s spectacular “Safety Not Guaranteed”), the always-great Emily Blunt, and the criminally under-utilized and underrated Rosemarie DeWitt. Blunt and DeWitt play sisters and, as cheesy as this pitch sounds, Duplass plays the man caught between them. But this is not a standard love triangle film by any stretch of the imagination. Shelton’s very gifted at avoiding the clichés of a story that could have easily weighed it down and made it just another generic Mumblecore drama. She’s very careful to make sure the interactions of her characters feel 100% genuine. I wish she had a bit more of a stylish eye and wrote a stronger final act, but it’s the characters of “Your Sister’s Sister” that I’ll remember and that’s an invaluable gift.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Your Sister’s Sister” in our reviews section.

Jack (Duplass) is at an emotional turning point in his life a year after the death of his brother. He’s lost, adrift, but Duplass and Shelton don’t overplay his life quandary. He just seems to be at a point that most of us reach a few times in our life. He’s uncertain and generally unhappy. His good friend Iris (Blunt) recognizes this and practically orders him to go to her family’s cottage and just get away. He’ll ride his bike, read some books, watch the sunset – it will be a good reboot for Jack’s soul.

When he arrives at the cabin late at night, Jack is startled to see a beautiful woman making tea in her underwear. It’s Hannah (DeWitt), Iris’ gay sister, who has just broken up with her partner after seven years together. In easily the best scene in the film, Hannah and Jack share tequila shots and discuss their lives with increasing emotional honesty. DeWitt is spectacular here, making one wonder why on Earth she doesn’t get more roles. She’s honest, likable, and interesting without ever once feeling like she’s being artificial. I thought for sure that her Oscar-worthy work in “Rachel Getting Married” would get her more roles but it didn’t quite work out. This is easily her best work since that film.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Your Sister’s Sister” review.

“Your Sister’s Sister” stars Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, and Rosemarie DeWitt. It was written and directed by Lynn Shelton. It opens on June 15, 2012.

Your Sister's Sister
Your Sister’s Sister
Photo credit: IFC Films

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