Review: Your Sister's Sister

Directed by: Lynn Shelton
Written by:Lynn Shelton
Starring: Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt
Released: September 6, 2012
Grade: B-


Your Sister's Sister

We begin with a small memorial service.  It’s been a year since Tom passed away and a group of his good friends have organised a get-together to honour his memory.  The person who seems to have been hit the hardest is his brother, Jack (Duplass).  He’s been struggling to deal with the grief and has pushed away all of those who have tried to help.

It forces his close friend, Iris (Blunt), to offer an ultimatum.  The time has come to deal with this.  She tells Jack to spend a few days in her parent’s remote cabin on Puget Sound.  With no television, no internet and no people, it’ll be a chance for him to regroup, refocus and clear his head.  He takes a little convincing but eventually agrees that it’s a good idea.

Things don’t quite go to plan though.  When he finally reaches the cabin after a long day of bike riding, Jack discovers that he won’t be alone.  Iris’s sister, Hannah (DeWitt), is also using the secluded retreat to deal with her problems.  She’s just broken up with her long-time partner and is looking to hide from the world.

Their first encounter is rather confrontational but it doesn’t take long for Jack and Hannah to start enjoying each other’s company.  Thanks to a large bottle of tequila, they spend their first night in the cabin opening up about their past and their issues.  Oh, and they also end up sleeping together.

When Iris unexpectedly arrives the next morning, things become very awkward and very complicated.  They all have secrets and over the next few days, everything will come out into the open, for better or worse.

Structured more as a comedy than a drama, Your Sister’s Sister is easy to like.  There are only three characters of significance with Mark Duplass (Humpday), Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) and Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married) all working well off each other.  They share some lengthy, dialogue-driven scenes that are both funny and heartfelt.

Shot on a budget of just $125,000, small films like Your Sister’s Sister don’t get a release in this country unless there’s a good reason.  It’s worked its way up through the film festival circuit (premiering at Toronto last year before moving onto Sundance) and has pleased both audiences and critics.  They’ve been drawn to the humorous situation but also some of the more serious themes of love, grief, jealousy and forgiveness.  I know I was.