Your Sister's Sister


Directed by Lynne Shelton. Starring Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass, Rosemarie DeWitt 15A cert, Cineworld/IFI/Light House, Dublin, 90 min

IT’S AS PLAIN as the scowl on his face: Jack (Mark Duplass), a year on, has unresolved issues relating to his brother’s death. His inappropriately bitter anniversary speech is a dead giveaway as is the palpable frisson between our grouchy protagonist and lovely, fragile Iris (Emile Blunt), his late sibling’s girlfriend.

He’s a mess but, where others flinch, Iris steps in to insist that Jack takes some time at her family’s quaint Pacific getaway. You know, so he can pull himself together. Iris hasn’t realised that her lesbian vegan sister, Hannah (Rachel Getting Married’s Rosemarie DeWitt) is already holed up there.

What will happen when brittle, condescending Hannah, who has just split from her long-term partner, gets drunk and experimental? And what will Iris think when she arrives to drop her own bombshell? Freewheeling naturalistic dialogue; intimate Cassavetes-school framing; expertly calibrated improvisation; Woody Allen-worthy witticisms. Hmmm.

Today’s mission, should we choose to accept it: blunder our way through a review of Your Sister’s Sister, the latest film from Humpday director Lynn Shelton and that film’s star Mark Duplass, without using the word “mumblecore”. That’s only fair. And yet, if it has feathers and quacks.

It’s true that some up-and-coming digital filmmakers may not like the term, but on a good day, m********e denotes a charming revolution in US indie cinema. Happily, Your Sister’s Sister is a very good day indeed. The film’s raw representation of sexual complications is appropriately screwy and messy. The dialogue is warm and funny. The embarrassments and cross purposes are properly mortifying.

Duplass is wonderful but even he can’t shine as brightly as Emily Blunt. Her character is rarely as forceful and feisty as the other two, but Blunt’s quiet, delicate machinations keep us leaning forward in our seats.