If there is one actor who has made a slow and steady career for themselves, it would be Mark Duplass. Probably best known for his role as Pete Eckhart in American TV sitcom The League on FX, as well as the director of 2010 Jonah Hill dramedy Cyrus and comedy Jeff, Who Lives At Home, starring Jason Segel that was released (albeit quietly) earlier this year. With his recent film Safety Not Guaranteed winning hearts in the recent Sundance London Film and Music Festival, he’s sure to win some more with this little indie drama.
Your Sister’s Sister sees Duplass as Jack, still emotionally troubled after the death of his brother a year ago. Urged by his best friend Iris (Emily Blunt), he retreats to her father’s isolated cabin to get his head straightened out. When Jack gets there, he finds Iris’s older sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) already staying there, after breaking up with her long-term partner. After a late-night bonding session of tequila, the two lost souls spend the night together. Things get even more complicated when Iris comes to the cabin the next day and confides in her sister her more-than-friendly feelings for Jack…
Your Sister’s Sister is the fifth feature film written and directed by Lynn Shelton, whose previous film Humpday also starred Duplass. Shelton captures the isolation of the cabin beautifully, as it becomes the perfect setting to show how alone these three characters are and the solace they offer each other. There is no bitterness between them; whether the relationship between the two sisters or the two best friends, there is no feeling of hatred – they are just a shoulder to cry on, making it all the more poignant yet occasionally bittersweet. The film sets the trio as an awkward love triangle of sorts and even though it is something that comes with a cliché warning, it is carefully handled by Shelton and her cast.
Shelton’s banter-like dialogue allow the interactions between the trio to flow naturally, yet she can turn an emotionally charged argument between Hannah and Iris into an insight to their relationship. The three actors – Blunt, DeWitt and Duplass – play their respective parts beautifully and they all show how the loss of a person, whether it be a friend, relative or lover, can emotionally affect you.
A little too quiet and slow in places, Your Sister’s Sister is warm and touching with three great lead performances.