YOUR SISTER’S SISTER
Written and Directed by Lynn Shelton
Starring Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt and Mark Duplass
Jack: You’re out of the cage now, my friend. If you’re gonna fucking fly, you’re gonna start with a steak!
Have you ever been out to a lake? It’s peaceful, simple, and often so tranquil that you can just let your mind drift away into a rare state of relaxation. Heck, you might even learn a thing or two about yourself, if you’re open to it. This is the exact tone that independent film director, Lynn Shelton, strives for and achieves with great success in her latest insightful laugher, YOUR SISTER’S SISTER. Well, the simplicity, she gets; the tranquility, not so much. Either way, an engaging and endearing experience, much like a weekend away from the busier and louder mainstream fare we’re all accustomed to. In many ways, it is also a necessary break as well.
Reportedly made for just $125,000, YOUR SISTER’S SISTER was conceived as an improvisational experiment of sorts. Three people, all with varying degrees of issues with themselves and each other to work out, end up at a quaint cottage unexpectedly all at once. Two of these people are sisters, Iris and Hannah, played by Emily Blunt and Rosemarie Dewitt (who replaced Rachel Weisz when she had to drop out of the project). One of these people is Jack (Mark Duplass, who also rocks the indie scene in SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED). Jack lost his brother, who incidentally happened to be Iris’s ex-boyfriend, a year prior and has yet to reenter the world of the living. After Jack drunkenly sleeps with Hannah, who happens to be a lesbian just out of a 7-year relationship, it becomes as clear as a lake at dawn that matters have become fairly complicated for this trio.
YOUR SISTER’S SISTER is as contemplative and as rustic as you’d expect a movie about a trip to the lake to be. Shelton captures a candid intimacy that is increasingly rare these days. The video aesthetic may not always do the picturesque nature full justice but it also doesn’t let the actors get away with anything either. True to the essence of improv, these three actors cannot let there be silence for too long and inevitably fill the spaces with whatever comes to mind. Their combined talent is undeniable and without their finely honed instincts, this film would be the worst weekend away ever. And while the complexities that surface throughout their time away may be too easily worked out in the end, this does nothing to detract from what a fascinating exercise in introspection the time away provides.