Review: Your Sister’s Sister, dir. Lynn Shelton
Your Sister’s Sister is the latest release from acclaimed Seattle-based director of Humpday, Lynn Shelton. Hailed “an absolute inspiration to the film community,” Shelton has delivered yet another show-stopper set to take the cinemas by storm. BEVer Sonia Zadurian gives us an idea of what it’s all about.
In 2009, writer/director Lynn Shelton was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival for Humpday. After a brief period directing for television, Shelton returns to film with Your Sister’s Sister (2012). Consisting almost entirely of three main characters, the film combines the talents of Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt and Mark Duplass to great effect.
After the death of his brother, Jack (Duplass) becomes withdrawn, bitter and directionless. When best friend Iris (Blunt) suggests that he recuperate at her dad’s empty cabin in the woods, Jack reluctantly agrees to take the trip. However, the peaceful retreat harbours an unexpected guest in the form of Iris’ elder sister Hannah (DeWitt), who has recently separated from her long term partner. After an initially awkward greeting, the pair soon bond over tequila and a desire to forget their troubles. The next morning they are woken by the arrival of Iris, who has come to stay with Jack. Things quickly become complicated, as secret motives give way to dramatic confessions which have the potential to change their lives forever.
Shot in just twelve days, Your Sister’s Sister is an intimate drama which feels unrehearsed and raw from the very beginning. The largely improvised dialogue perfectly imitates the colloquialism and flow of natural speech, leaving the viewer with the impression that they are merely casual observers of a reality which exists beyond the confines of the film. This is aided by a tight script which dispenses with the standard romantic comedy clichés in favour of unconventional relationships and unusual situations.
The refreshing script is well-paced and subtly shot, allowing time for character emotions to resonate with the audience and enhancing the truth of the piece. In addition, the three leads present powerful yet naturalistic performances, communicating both the comic and tragic aspects of their respective situations. These tender individual performances interlock wonderfully to create a set of distinct relationships which the audience will believe and invest in until the very end.
Featuring a tiny cast who mesh together perfectly, Your Sister’s Sister is a brilliantly acted, intimate drama which makes a refreshing addition to the romantic comedy genre.
Your Sister’s Sister will be in UK cinemas from 29 July 2012.