Jack (Mark Duplass) is in a state of depression a year on from the death of his brother. Iris (Emily Blunt), the deceased brother’s ex-girlfriend and good friend of Jack, packs him off to her father’s cabin to get away from it all, only for Iris’ sister Hannah (Rosemarie DuWitt) to be there when he arrives. A night of drinking leads to sex but things get difficult when Iris shows up and decides to declare that she is in love with Jack.
Your Sister’s Sister is a collaboration between ‘mumblecore’ stalwarts Lynn Shelton and Mark Duplass, he of the Duplass brothers, and while that peculiar and short-lived style of filmmaking seems to have gone the way of so many other hipster-ish stylings, it is still very much in evidence here.
If you were being uncharitable to Your Sister’s Sister, it would be fairly easy to dismiss it. The plot takes a fair while to get to where you know its going and then struggles to justify itself over a 90 minute runtime. What you see from the trailer is, one revelation aside, pretty much what you get. There’s never any question of how our trio of characters really feel for each other and while one hides a secret which brings a certain tension to the third act, by the end of the film there is a bit of a feeling of ‘is that it?’. However, making the film worth a watch is some very sharp writing and a group of performances which flesh out our characters, giving them dialogue and mannerisms which make them feel lived in.
Jack is in a state of limbo, with Duplass effectively showing us a man who is running on fumes but still has the smarts to bed a bisexual woman hours within meeting her (something which smells of Chasing Amy style male wish- fulfilment but which does have a point by the end). He is charming enough to make us believe why DuWitt’s character sees sleeping with him as a good idea and why Blunt’s endlessly likeable character would fall for him. All the characters have their faults but none are really defined by them, each has their problems but they aren’t all laid bare and dissected, lending them a ‘lived in’ feel. The sister relationship between Blunt and DuWitt is also incredibly well played, the two being very different but feeling like they do have shared experiences. The younger/older dynamic plays well and the intimate camerawork in scenes played between them creates occasional touching moments that are quite affecting. Your Sister’s Sister is a perfectly enjoyable film which never offends but doesn’t do all that much to make an impression – though it certainly benefits from a wonderful cast who make it somewhat more than the sum of its parts.
StudioCanal’s DVD fits into the overall mood of the film with AV qualities which are perfectly adequate with a 1.85:1 image which follows through with its digital cinematography in offering a perfectly clear and crisp image which couldn’t get much better in standard definition, though this isn’t a film which demands all that much of its picture. A Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack opens out the soundscape whenever music enters the scene but largely restricts itself to the front channels for the most part. Extras boil down to a fairly standard commentary with director and some of the crew where we learn that everyone got on with each other and they had some difficulties working quickly(fairly standard issue stuff). We also get the aforementioned trailer.
Your Sister’s Sister is out on DVD and Blu-Ray through StudioCanal on Monday 29th October.