YOUR SISTER'S SISTER
One year after his brother's death, Jack (Mark Duplass) hasn't recovered. His best friend, Iris (Emily Blunt), prescribes solitary reflection and sends him to her father's empty cabin. But she doesn't realise her sister, Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt), is there for similar reasons, having just walked out on a seven-year relationship. Over tequila shots, Hannah and Jack get acquainted. When Iris drops in unexpectedly, complications arise in the form of rivalry and more than a few surprising revelations.
Review by Louise Keller:
The pleasures of this rom-com love triangle come from the performances, which beautifully describe the awkwardness, anxiety, sincerity and humour of the situation filmmaker Lyn Shelton describes. Two girls and a guy. Each one with a secret agenda. And the girls happen to be sisters. But it's not what you might think and it's far more complicated than you could imagine.
The observations are real and there's an honesty about the dialogue exchanged between sisters, best friends and new acquaintances. I hesitate to voice it, but I have one teensy little complaint - chemistry is the one thing missing, in what is otherwise a scrumptiously performed piece about love, love and love.
In the opening scene a group of friends are drinking, laughing and remembering their friend Tom who died a year earlier; his brother Jack (Mark Duplass) makes a scene, after which his best friend Iris (Emily Blunt) recognises he needs time alone. That's when she suggests he gets on his red push bike, catches the ferry and heads for her father's island retreat for some head space.
Unexpectedly, Iris's sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) is there when he arrives late at night, and the golden glow of downing Tequila shots together flows into an intimate conversation. As Hannah tells of her recent break up from her lesbian lover, Jack is quick to build up her morale and before we know it, they fall into bed together (after finding a condom) and have sex.
As the sun comes up, so does the surprise of Iris arriving, who has decided to pay Jack a visit. Then the façade begins: Jack makes Hannah promise not to tell Iris what has happened and awkward conversations ensue. Like us, Hannah has suspicions about the unsaid state of the relationship between Iris and Jack, but there are more walks by the crystal water, the wooded forest and glasses of red wine before the truth prevails. There's a sweetness about the exchange between the sisters as they share a bed and as Iris and Jack doze head to toe on the settee. Inevitably the truth comes out with more revelations and of course there are consequences to follow.
DeWitt steals the film as the vegan lesbian with her own personal dream who sincerely loves her sister and would not do anything to hurt her. Blunt is natural as the love-sick Iris although I do not agree with Shelton's decision to give one sister an English accent and the other American; her scenes with DeWitt exude an honesty of which all sisters will approve.
My disappointment lies in the casting of Duplass, whose work I love as the eccentric time-traveller in the soon to be released Safety Not Guaranteed, but was not convinced by him as a romantic lead. Had there been some sexual chemistry between the characters in addition to the wonderful truthfulness and great performances, the film would have soared.
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YOUR SISTER'S SISTER (M)
CAST: Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass, Rosemary Dewitt, Mike Birbiglia,
PRODUCER: Steven Schardt
DIRECTOR: Lynn Shelton
SCRIPT: Lynn Shelton
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Benjamin Kasulke
EDITOR: Nat Sanders
MUSIC: Vince Smith
PRODUCTION DESIGN: John Lavin
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 6, 2012