By Caitlyn Collins | June 29, 2012
Writer: Lynn Shelton
Director: Lynn Shelton
Starring: Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mike Birbiglia, Kate Bayley, Jeanette Maus, Jennifer Maas, Dori Hana Scherer, Evan Mosher
When I tell people I have six siblings the first reaction I get is generally surprise. I also have four parents. My youngest sibling is fifteen while my oldest will be forty next month. Being a sister is a bond I cherish. Your Sister’s Sister, written for the screen and directed by Lynn Shelton, portrays an intimate view of just how complicated relationships, familial or otherwise, can get.
Jack (Mark Duplass) is in a downward spiral following the death of his brother, Tom. His best friend Iris (Emily Blunt), who once dated Tom, decides that Jack needs a bit of a push in order to pull himself together. Iris’ family has a secluded cabin and she orders Jack to hop onto Big Red, his bicycle, and make his way there. She feels like some time away from everything will help Jack clear his mind. Jack decides to take her advice and off he goes. When he finally arrives at the cabin, however, he discovers it’s occupied by Iris’ older sister, Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt). Despite coming to the cabin for some solitude, they both decide to stay and Jack heads to his room.
Neither Hannah nor Jack can sleep. Hannah reveals that she’s just walked out on her girlfriend of seven years and Jack seems to be plagued with insomnia. Over the course of a bottle of tequila, the two discuss their heartaches, how awesome Iris is, and having a romp in the sack.
Much to Jack’s dismay, Iris shows up the next day with groceries and hugs. He panics, telling Hannah he thinks it best if Iris doesn’t know about the previous night’s activities. This is the point in the film where the tension begins to build as it centers on these three characters out in the middle of nowhere. The majority of the film is shot indoors and the dialogue as well as the dynamics between the three characters are the heart of the film. As a result, there are moments when the film seems to saunter but the pace picks up as the truth is slowly revealed after Iris seeks sisterly advice from Hannah, forcing her to finally reveal her secret to Iris.
What baffled me most was the lack of confrontation between the two sisters. While I know that the bond between siblings can be incredibly strong, and we are meant to believe this is the case between Iris and Hannah, I had a hard time with the fact that neither of them does much beyond cry and give the silent treatment.
Your Sister’s Sister features strong performances by all three actors. For the most part the situation the three find themselves in, while unique, is not implausible. While I had a hard time swallowing the lack of real confrontation, that could just be completely personal. Your Sister’s Sister leaves you wondering what you would do or say in their shoes; at least that’s what I keep going back to. It’s an intimate look at how complicated relationships are and how people deal with their emotions in various manners. I’ll be staying away from shots of tequila for a while.