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Review: Your Sister’s Sister (2011)

Director: Lynn Shelton | 90 minutes | comedy, drama | Actors: Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mark Duplass, Mike Birbiglia, Mel Eslyn, Jeanette Maus, Kate Bayley, Jennifer Maas, Jason Dodson, Norman Tumolva, Evan Mosher, Jeremy Mackie, Nathan M. Miller, Kate Jarvis, Dori Hana Scherer, Dusty Warren, Beckett Chin, Steve Snoey, Pete Erickson, Kimberly Chin, Seth Warren, Kohen Chin

It’s actually just a strange title for a movie: “Your Sister’s Sister” or “your sister’s sister,” as this comedy from director Lynn Shelton has been called. Yet the story behind this remarkable choice of words is far from strange. Rather, it is a nice, simple and recognizable story about love, friendship and family.

There is of course nothing wrong with a relatively simple story and this is proven quite quickly in “Your Sister’s Sister”. Jack (Mark Duplass) hasn’t been himself since his brother died a year ago. His best friend Iris (Emily Blunt), who is also his brother’s ex, thinks it’s a good idea that Jack goes to her father’s cabin for a week to clear his mind completely cut off from the outside world. Once arrived, Iris’s sister, Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt), turns out to have settled in this cabin for exactly the same reasons. After an evening of sagging down, the two end up in bed together, which would not be a problem were it not that a day later Iris, who has an unexpected holiday, also comes to the bungalow as a surprise.

You can imagine that this scenario leads to quite a few funny scenes. Yet humor is certainly not the main motivation of “Your Sister’s Sister”. The emphasis is much more on mutual relationships than on humorous situations. Because when Iris secretly seems to feel more than just friendship for Jack, his nighttime with Hannah quickly becomes a rather tricky issue. The friendship between Iris and Jack and also the extremely close bond between the two sisters soon come under pressure.

The biggest plus of “Your Sister’s Sister” is the excellent acting of the three. Each one of them put in a very convincing performance. in particular is strong as ever and comes across as really sweet and believable as the young sister of the two. Rosemarie DeWitt and Mark Duplass, however, are hardly inferior to this and the chemistry between these trio allows them to get the most out of the thin script. Because although the scenes, which have largely been created by improvisation, are not all equally strong and the dialogues sometimes want to be just a tad long-winded, overall it is still quite enough. The nightly scenes in which Iris and Hannah have deep conversations about their personal feelings as two sisters are very credible.

Ultimately, with “Your Sister’s Sister”, the makers know how to get the most out of the modest scenario and setting (the takes place almost entirely in and around the abandoned log cabin). The story may be a bit on the slow side at times and the climax of the film is not surprising (except for an interesting final scene), but “Your Sister’s Sister” has turned out to be a really nice feel-good film. You almost wish you had a sister like Iris or Hannah too.

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