Review: Your Sister’s Sister

Lynn Shelton, Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass and Rosemarie DeWitt

Your Sister’s Sister stars Emily Blunt as Iris, Rosemarie DeWitt as Hannah, and Mark Duplass as Jack. It was written and directed by Lynn Shelton. She’s the blonde with the three actors in the photo above.

I’ve had it in my watch list on Netflix for a long time and never watched it. But after watching Laggies the other day, I decided it was time to have a Lynn Shelton week, so I hit play on Your Sister’s Sister.

Spoilers ahead.

Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt and Rosemary DeWitt in a scene from "Your Sister's Sister."
Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt and Rosemary DeWitt in a scene from “Your Sister’s Sister.”

Your Sister’s Sister is a film full of love. The trailer below gives you the outlines of the plot. Jack is a man grieving his brother’s death. His best friend, Iris, sends him off to her family’s vacation place in the San Juan Islands to be alone. Unexpectedly, her sister Hannah is there – a lesbian with a bottle of sex-inducing tequila and a secret agenda. Then Iris shows up.

The actors are superb, the characters are real. The characters’ behavior and actions are often based on unexpressed secrets and longings. Mix that with each of their failings and insecurities. Put the three of them together in an isolated house and watch what happens.

Things blow up between them. Jack takes off, but not really. He sets up a tent in the woods nearby. The sisters stop speaking to each other.

Emily Blunt and Rosemary DeWitt play sisters prone to late night conversation.
Emily Blunt and Rosemary DeWitt are sisters prone to late night conversation.

One of the most beautiful things about the movie to me was the days the sisters spent together, not speaking. Silent, but not leaving. Even when their relationship was severely strained, they stayed. They waited through it together.

Jack comes back after a couple of days alone and the three begin to negotiate some healing between them.

The ending is unspecified but hopeful.

There was a scene at the beginning of the film set in a party on the one year anniversary of Jack’s brother’s death. After that, it narrows down to the three main characters. The film was shot in 12 days in the San Juan Islands – a beautiful location. How can you make a movie in 12 days? Well, basically only 3 characters, few locations, most of the story involves conversation about very few plot points. There was a lot of improvising from the 3 actors, which means the dialog is often stumbling and real and not something that took time to memorize. Bam. 12 days.

Lynn Shelton, the writer and director, must have really trusted the actors to be able to make this happen in such a short time. They actors knew who they needed to be, what they needed to talk about, and where they needed to end up – and they got there. It sounds like a wonderfully collaborative process: indie filmmaking at it’s most creative.

The Trailer

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