Release Date: June 29th, 2012
Director: Lynn Shelton
Starring: Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt
Your Sister’s Sister tells the story of Jack (Mark Duplass) who’s brother’s death is still plaguing him, Iris (Emily Blunt) who sends Jack to her father’s second home in some woods somewhere and Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt), Iris’ sister, who also decided she needed time alone after a bad break-up. While Jack and Iris are best friends with Iris having dated Jack’s deceased brother, Jack and Hannah have never met until their chance encounter in the cabin. The majority of the film takes place in or around the cabin as thoughts are shared, emotions are revealed and shit gets serious.
I had heard good things about Your Sister’s Sister after it opened the Glasgow Film Festival earlier this year but no one warned me how emotionally draining it would be be. Because it is – in a good way. The film fluctuates from light comedy to heavy drama, painful laughs and surprising revelations providing an emotional rollercoaster which left me exhausted in my seat as the credits began to roll.
As a low budget film, the camerawork occasionally appears sloppy as the focus goes in and out – making the audience very aware of the film product. While it can be suggested this then creates a sense of realism through its own brand of roughness, the cameraman is unacknowledged, making the argument falls flat. Thankfully, the relatively low action meant that any camera difficulties did not detract too much from the film itself. Instead of action shots or changes in location, the film focuses on relationships particularly through the characters talking to each other. Something which has been greatly under rated in recent years. What makes the film so stunning is the improvised script. Surprisingly, the dialogue never feels forced or suffers from an unintended awkward silences. Instead it flows easily, creating the impression of effortless friendship.
This camaraderie of the actors is what makes the film easy to watch – despite the intended cringing moments which made me squirm in my seat – and thus showcases the high level with which the actors worked. It is never doubted that each emotion is real: the embarrassment, the laughter, the tears and the love. The dramatic plot twist – no, not the one in the trailer. It’s much bigger than that. You are not prepared – which causes the great rift in their different relationships, is then also shown through dialogue, or lack thereof. The breakdown of their communication leads to a montage of shots showing either the characters separately or one actively avoiding another creating a rift in the cinematic style highlighting the shock of the separation. Or perhaps giving the audience to work out the situation themselves after such a big shock. The film does a fantastic job of involving the audience, not through 3D or DBOX’s flailing seats, but by engaging them in a dramatic story with real life worries and emotions.
While I found the film endlessly entertaining, continuing to surprise me as the story continued, the technical problems do bring the film down a notch. Along with a too-easy resolution, Your Sister’s Sister is not a perfect film but it’s realistic portrayal of different relationships make the film a successful one. It’s effortless exploration of the development and break down of different relationships purely through communication and misunderstandings makes this film one worth watching this summer season.