Mark Duplass is having a great year. He co-wrote/directed Jeff, Who Lives At Home, one of my favorite films of the year so far, and starred in Safety Not Guaranteed, and Lynn Shelton’s new film, Your Sister’s Sister. In Sister, Duplass plays Jack, a guy who has been having a shitty year following the death of his brother. He’s unemployed, and is currently in a rut. At a one year anniversary memorial for his brother’s death, Jack is encouraged by his brother’s ex-girlfriend, Iris, played by Emily Blunt, who seem to have a thing for each other, to pack a backpack, grab a bike and ride up to her father’s cabin, where there’s no TV or internet, in order to clear his head and try to get his life on track.
But once he gets there, he realizes that he’s not alone. Iris’ sister, Hannah, played by Rosemarie Dewitt, is already occupying the cabin after just having gotten out of a seven year relationship. The two start drinking and end up sleeping together. Very awkwardly, might I add.
The next morning, Iris makes a surprise visit and things get weird. Jack doesn’t want Iris to know that he slept with Hannah, while Iris confesses to Hannah in private that she’s in love with Jack. There are a couple of twists within the story that make things even more complicated though.
Your Sister’s Sister felt like a very genuine story to me. The dialogue felt like it was almost entirely improvised, giving it that little added touch of personality. There was a scene in particular where the three characters are sitting at a kitchen table having a discussion about previous relationships that felt like the three actors were having a legit real life discussion. I’ve always been a sucker for improvised dialogue.
In scenes like that, Duplass feels like the obvious veteran. His films usually have loads of improvised content. He works wonders with it. Another thing that I really love about him is his ability to fluctuate between comedy and drama so seamlessly. He knows how to make people laugh, especially with his character of FX’s The League, but he also knows how to depress the hell out of you, within these ultra-real dramatic moments. IE: the end of Jeff, Who Lives At Home. Duplass has proven that he’s definitely got the skills to go outside the standard comedic elements, and so I’m excited to see him start appearing in some bigger rolls. I feel like his career is starting to blow up, and he deserves every bit of it.
Ultimately, Your Sister’s Sister is a good little afternoon watch. It’s ultra low-budget and basically spends all of it’s time in this cabin, but it’s filled with great performances and an interesting story with a pretty good twist. It’s more drama than comedy, and it works. The ending has a fun little “Is it or isn’t it” moment too, that leaves the answer open to the viewer’s interpretation. I’d like to think the answer is “It is!” So now who’s up for an unneeded sequel called Your Sister’s Sister’s _____?
I give Your Sister’s Sister 4 bowls of non-vegan mashed potatoes out 5:
By Richard Pepper