'Your Sister's Sister': a poignant visit with a believable trio
A review of "Your Sister's Sister," a sibling comedy set in the Northwest, directed by Lynn Shelton. "Your Sister's Sister" opened SIFF 2012 and is now back in Seattle for a regular run.
Seattle Times movie critic
'Your Sister's Sister,' with Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass, Rosemarie DeWitt. Written and directed by Lynn Shelton. 90 minutes. Rated R for language and some sexual content. Egyptian, Lincoln Square. Shelton will be in attendance Saturday night at the Egyptian.
Seattle filmmaker Lynn Shelton's appealing comedy "Your Sister's Sister" is an actor's movie, offering the small-scale pleasures of a good story well-told. For most of its running time, it has only three characters. Jack (Mark Duplass) is restless and unhappy, still grieving for his brother a year after his death. Iris (Emily Blunt), Jack's best friend, takes pity on him and suggests he go spend some time at her family's vacation home on a nearby island, for solitude and self-examination.
But when Jack arrives, he finds someone unexpected: Iris' sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt), who's just ended a long-term romantic relationship and was seeking a little solitude of her own. It's an awkward situation, made more so by the unannounced arrival of Iris the next day: one trio, three pairs, all altered by the events of one night.
Filmed in the picturesque San Juan Islands by cinematographer Ben Kasulke, "Your Sister's Sister" unfolds like a story told to you by your best friend: you believe every word. The actors, who improvised much of their dialogue (they're listed as "creative consultants" in the credits), never hit a false note — each making their character someone flawed yet appealing. Duplass' Jack (who has a habit of suddenly exhaling by blowing, as if he's quietly releasing built-up steam) is a rumpled, impetuous charmer, constantly doing the wrong thing but always meaning well. DeWitt, dryly sardonic, clicks instantly with his rhythms as she creates a moody woman who nonetheless knows how to laugh at herself. And Blunt, who's as always sweetness personified, gives a small master class in acting without words: accepting an apology with a small, silent nod; quietly gazing with incandescent love.
"Your Sister's Sister," evidence of Shelton's growing mastery of storytelling, ends almost before you want it to, with a question that isn't answered — which is, on reflection, exactly how it should be.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org