This vacation just got really awkward

Your Sister's Sister

on September 16, 2011 by Sara Maria Vizcarrondo

In Lynn Shelton's quiet, tensely comic dramedy about two sisters, a man and a cabin, Iris (Emily Blunt) sends her BFF Jack (Mark Duplass) up to her family's vacation home for the anniversary of his brother's death. But when Jack gets there, Iris' sister Hannah (Rosemary Dewitt) is using the place to repair from the end of a longterm relationship. With a premise as simple as the charm is rich, this film's mastery is most evident in the shifts of tone: Your Sister's Sister goes from comedy to drama and back again with a touch so slight, you'll laugh at the shift as much as the sly humor. With indie cred and arthouse subtlety to spare, not to mention a great cast, Your Sister's got real box office potential.

Hannah just left an oppressive long term lesbian relationship. She's freshly naked from a bath when Jack ambles onto the territory and scares the bejeezus out of her--tellingly, everyone here thinks they're safe and invisible until they realize they're a target. Trying to make the best of their situation, the kids make nice and drink too heavily. They end up in a tryst that goes from awkward to dull in 45 seconds. But small crimes yield big punishments, and what Hannah thinks is nothing, Jack thinks could shatter Iris' world...or, you know, just "make things weird." In a deft, and potent scene, all three characters slip around details of crucial importance and have three conversations at once. It's a glorious, effortless feat of dramatic irony. For a movie that feels so breezy, breakfast is the most uncomfortable meal of the day.

Your Sister's Sister is based on an idea by the Duplass brothers, with whom Shelton collaborated for the fantastic Humpday, a dramedy about a two straight male friends who drunkenly dare each other to have sex on tape as a way of proving their liberal, modern manhood. The mixing of humor and discomfort is far less aggressive here than it was for that (almost) bedroom farce, partly because the drama revolves around nurturing relationships as opposed to competitive ones. Since Hannah is a lesbian she poses a tenuous romantic threat to IrisJack's complacency is more threatening. But the moments of quiet humor brush so softly against the moments of concern that they feel discovered and new, which could make you fall for Lynn Shelton, the sweetest property mumblecore ever produced.

Distributor: IFC Films
Cast: Emily Blunt, Rosemary Dewitt, Mark Duplass, Mike Birbiglia
Director/Screenwriter: Lynn Shelton
Producer: Steven Schardt
Genre: Comedy
Rating: R for language and some sexual content.
Running time: 90 min.
Release date: June 15 NY

Tags: Emily Blunt, Rosemary Dewitt, Mark Duplass, Mike Birbiglia, Lynn Shelton

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