Your Sister’s Sister offers stuffy sibling drama
Your Sister’s Sister is not going to win this weekend’s box office or likely come close. This is counter-programming for audiences tired of films where something is exploding every five minutes or stars the latest flavor of the month.
Jack (Mark Duplass, The League) has had a hard time since his brother, Tom, died. On the anniversary of Tom’s death, a group of his pals gather to pay tribute to his memory, but Jack ruins the moment in what’s apparently the latest in a string of drunken outbursts. Realizing Jack’s still deep in the grieving process, his best friend and Tom’s ex, Iris (Emily Blunt, The Five-Year Engagement), offers him the use of her father’s cabin.
Neither are aware that Ivy’s older sister, Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt, United States of Tara), has already decided to shack up at the cabin in an attempt to get over the end of her seven-year-relationship with her girlfriend, Pam.
Vulnerable and in a drunken state, Hannah and Jack sleep together — a decision that has far reaching consequences once Ivy shows up the next day. Over the course of the next few days, Ivy tells Hannah her feelings for Jack and Jack may be madly in love with his dead brother’s ex. Yep, it’s not weird at all.
The soap opera dynamics of the sister’s failing to get along gets tiresome. Jack and Hannah decide to keep their tryst a secret until Hannah’s own long-dormant desire is revealed, which threatens to permanently ruin everyone’s relationships.
Sister is written and directed by 2009 Sundance winner Lynn Shelton (Humpday), who’s got an adequate eye for directing. There’s no shot or moment that’s going to wow you, but she captures the intimate feel of reality without the typical Hollywood glam up approach that magically can make a simple log cabin into a five-star resort. The rooms look like the comfy, vacation getaway the average person would see — complete with tacky bed sheets and wallpaper.
Shelton’s script is at times funny, while hitting all the appropriate dramatic notes in exploring these unique relationships, but it’s missing that genuine reason to invest in the characters after Ivy finds out Jack slept with her sister.
Blunt and DeWitt manage to quickly capture a sisterly camaraderie, but Duplass is less convincing when he’s not playing the grieving brother. I couldn’t figure out what Ivy sees in Jack at all and he isn’t able to give the audience that ‘oh, that’s why we should be rooting for this guy!’ moment.
Sister is one of those films that desperately needs its ending to deliver and that’s where it stumbles. The setup is intriguing, but just as Shelton gets her hands dirty with the mess her characters have made, it’s winding down to a seemingly improbable conclusion. It’s too neat and pat for the creative film she started and comes across more like an all-too easy Hallmark movie conclusion, which is a greater betrayal than anything her characters commit.
Review: 3 out of 10
Photo Credit: Tadd Sackville-West and Benjamin Kasulke/An IFC Films release.