Thursday, June 14, 2012

Your Sister's Sister

The uptight mom from "Safety Not Guaranteed" is the writer/director of "Your Sister's Sister".  This is the third time that Lynn Shelton has worked with Mark Duplass (the others being "Humpday" in 2009 and "Safety Not Guaranteed" in 2012).  This indie film has been making the rounds at the various festivals and receiving positive reviews.  The buzz is that the cast improvised most of the film and created back-stories for their characters.  This approach was necessary to help explain why one sister has a British accent and the other an American accent.  To complicate things, Lynn Shelton challenged the independent film making style with a minimal budget and filmed over 12-days in the beautiful Pacific Northwest (San Juan Islands, Washington).

The film starts off by introducing the emotional back story with a gathering of friends to remember the passing of Tom.  They are together to share memories with the morose brother Jack (Mark Duplass) as well as the beautiful former girlfriend, and Jack's best friend, Iris (Emily Blunt).  After Jack gives a less than flattering eulogy, Iris convinces him to pack his bag and ride his red bike to her family cabin to get his head together.  In a moment that was reminiscent of John Belushi in "Animal House", Jack is creeping around the cabin, where he encounters Iris's sister, Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) who is also at the cabin to get over a seven-year relationship that recently ended.  Jack and Hannah enjoy a drunken night where they get to know each other, which provides for the rest of the drama (and humor) in the film.

Every performance perfectly compliments the other.  Emily Blunt gets to explore more range here than "Salmon Fishing in Yemen" or "the Adjustment Bureau"; and shows a maturity and a more believable relationship with Mark Duplass than she had in the other films.  Mark Duplass is everywhere lately with minor appearances in "People Like Us", "Safety Not Guaranteed", and writing/directing credits for "Jeff Who Lives at Home" and "Cyrus".  All of these credits are in addition to the TV series "The League" on FX.  Rosemarie DeWitt may be better known for her performances on "Mad Men" or "United States of Tara", but she holds her own with Blunt and Duplass. 

Everything from the filming approach to the character preparation works in creating a natural feel to the dialogue and gestures.  The film is very funny and light-hearted enough to handle the emotional aspects of the story.  The common ending for many independent films is something that you will either love (like me) or loathe.  This approach to an ending allows for the audience to answer the question of what they would do in the situation.  I would like to see some nominations for this film in the editing, original screenplay, and finds its way to a 5 Quack rating.  

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