It was shot in just 12 days, and other than an opening scene, it’s a three-character story. Word is that there was a lot of improvisation on the set.
That said, “Your Sister’s Sister” manages to be an engaging relationship movie with a contemporary sensibility, and the chemistry among the three actors is notably strong.
Director-screenwriter Lynn Shelton’s previous film, “Hump Day,” explores the queasiness of close friends playing chicken as two guys take up a dare to make a porn film together. This time Shelton includes women in another character study that visits sexually uncomfortable territory.
The movie opens in Seattle as Jack (Mark Duplass, who also starred in “Hump Day”) marks the anniversary of his brother’s death with a party. It’s been a rough year, and it’s a party that Jack seems determined to turn equally rough.
His best friend, Iris (Emily Blunt, “The Devil Wears Prada”), decides Jack needs some solitary time to get his head straight and sends him to her father’s isolated cabin on a nearby island.
But when he arrives, Jack discovers Iris’ half-sister, Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt, “Rachel Getting Married”), is already ensconced in the house. She’s just broken up with her partner of seven years and needs her own head-clearing time.
Instead, they have each other and more than one full bottle of booze. After many shots of tequila, they end up in bed together.
That’s embarrassing enough in the sobering light of early morning, but it seems much worse when Iris unexpectedly shows up at the door.
Jack has to convince Hannah that their sleeping together is better kept a secret. But Iris and Hannah both have secrets as well, making for a complicated situation that threatens both the sisters’ relationship and the friendship.
Duplass somehow gives Jack, a slightly doughy slacker with a quick tongue, a certain appeal in spite of his aimlessness.
DeWitt puts piercing eyes and a certain self-awareness to exceptional use. Blunt, despite having the least defined character of the three, is simply incapable of turning in a bad performance.
It all comes down to how convincingly these actors connect in front of the camera, and the answer is very.
Yes, some of this feels contrived and a bit talky. But Shelton ties an interesting enough knot, and her cast imbues the situation with enough moments that feel raw and honest, that you want to hang around and see what this trio makes of the mess.
Each character has to look hard in the mirror before this is over, and those turning points are the mostly satisfying payoff.
The movie includes profanity and sexual situations that make this unsuitable for younger teens.
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