Sep 072012


Jack escapes to his best friend’s remote cottage for some head-space and finds his best friend’s sister has also fled there, in need of her own time to heal. A relationship drama with more laughs than tears; check out my review of Your Sister’s Sister after the jump.

Jack (Mark Duplass) is not in a good place. It’s one year since his brother Tom died, and he is still struggling to deal with the loss. At an occasion to mark the one-year anniversary of his death, Jack’s best friend and Tom’s former girlfriend Iris (Emily Blunt) tells him enough-is-enough, and sends him to her parent’s remote cottage for reflection and time alone. Upon arriving at the cottage, Jack discovers than Iris’s sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) is already staying there. She has just left her partner of seven years, and is also in need of some time to reflect and escape from life. While things are a little awkward at first, the two bond over tequila and end up spending the night together. On the surface this one-night stand is nothing more than drunken fun, but soon Iris arrives at the cottage, and ramifications of the night end up being far greater than they could have imagined.


This film is far more than a ‘romcom’ or an indie relationship drama. It’s an amusing, moving, and somehow very natural feeling film about relationships between friends, lovers, siblings…well just people really. There are more laughs than tears, but when the film hits the dramatic notes, it really hits home. Filmed over only 12 days, I can’t help but assume that there are large chunks of improvised dialogue here. The dialogue is so very natural (as is the delivery), and for the most part it manages to avoid using too many clichés.

The performances from all three leads were superb – the characters were natural and very relatable. I did not enjoy Safety Not Guaranteed very much at all, but Duplass’s performance was one of the only good things about it. In Your Sister’s Sister he has again delivered another great performance (this one even better) – he gave the character such vulnerability and depth, and his chemistry with both Blunt and Dewitt was outstanding. Blunt is an actor who is slowly winning me over – I was never really a fan of her awkward English charm, but this year she has really impressed me.  She really is quite charming and has a great on-screen presence. I am really looking forward to seeing her in Looper.

Mark Duplass

I have to mention the comedy in this film, which was quite unexpected and very funny. There are a few moments during this film when I actually got the giggles quite badly. The scene where Hannah and Jack get drunk together was so funny and believable that I actually wonder if there was real tequila in that bottle – it was honestly that funny. If that was pure acting, then wow! Dewitt was especially convincing.

Apart from a slightly too-long montage and a couple of cheesy lines that didn’t sit well among the natural dialogue, this film really was charming and enjoyable. A refreshing relationship drama with excellent performances and some real laugh-out-loud moments. At only 90 minutes long, this film is proof that you don’t need a an excessive amount of time to tell a compelling and engaging story.


The Facts

Director: Lynn Shelton
Writer(s): Lynn Shelton
Starring: Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt
Runtime: 90 minutes
Release date(s): Australia: September 6 2012; New Zealand: September 13 2012.