‘I miss you, I miss my friend…’
I love words. Which is a handy affectation to have for an English teacher. My favourite bands are artists renowned for lyrics first and then music second (the Weakerthans, Decemberists, Bright Eyes etc), and I lean naturally towards films with loads of dialogue. This is probably why I was so enamoured with Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino as a young man. For this reason, I will always be drawn toward films like My Sister’s Sister. Mainly improvised, and dealing exclusively with heavy emotions (all the while sprinkled with warmth and levity), Lynn Shelton’s film is like a cosy jumper on a cold, autumnal evening…
Jack (Mark Duplass) is a mess. When his friend Iris (Emily Blunt) orders Jack to recuperate at her family holiday home, she doesn’t reckon on her similarly troubled sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) already being there. What plays out is a series of misunderstandings and recriminations that at once feels like an episode of Frasier, as well as a glimpse into the lives of real people living through real situations. This is a testament to both Shelton’s assured direction and a sterling effort from the cast.
Duplass is a convincing asshole, and he gets himself into a real mess here, but it is DeWitt who steals the show with a vulnerable and genuine turn as the centre of an uneasy love/lust triangle. Emily Blunt is classy as ever, and the three of them have an absolute blast against the backdrop of beautiful location shots and a gorgeous soundtrack.
Indie director Lynne Shelton tragically passed away in May of 2020, so there has never been a better time to get into her work. Your Sister’s Sister is a great starting point, and serves as a poignant tribute to a filmmaker with heart and passion.