There is something good to be said about a 90 minute film that can shoot in 12 days and leave much of it’s scenes to improvisation. Lynn Shelton writes and directs Your Sister’s Sister, a semi-romantic comedy that you can appreciate if only for its remote lake-house setting in Washington state. The film opens with Jack (Mark Duplass) honestly remembering his brother, Tom (he wouldn’t be human without flaws right?), that died a year prior. Tom is somebody whom the film pivots on, and it’s clear he holds a strong presence with the characters despite never actually appearing on screen. Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada, The Five-Year Engagement) plays Iris, who thankfully clarifies that she and Jack are best friends, before we start to form any other opinion about their relationship.
She kick-starts the story by sending Jack to her sister’s isolated house by the lake, and Hannah (Rosemarie Dewitt) just so happens to be there as well. After a couple hours of heavy drinking (yet somehow still being able to put coherent words together), the lesbian Hannah and open-minded Mark make the only guessable mistake they can make in a laughable twenty-second round in the bedroom. But now a secret must be kept from Iris, who stops by to make sure Jack is in a sufficiently difficult position between the two females. That’s not actually her reasoning, but it might as well be.
Your Sister’s Sister has a spontaneous wit that lacks in so many mainstream films–even the best comedies–and foregoes contrived and over-thought jokes for had-to-be-there quips. The actors are excellent, and their characters are downright lovable. If Shelton’s overhead shot of the two sisters talking in bed doesn’t highlight a unique bond between Iris and Hannah, I don’t know what would. They do, however, have different accents–which after two minutes of some backstory is cleared right up. Scenes naturally take turns with each possible pairing of the three, and probably the most memorable conversation happens with all three together. Because when one doesn’t know something the other two do, it’s best to choose your words carefully. As it turns out, that doesn’t always happen.
The story has a noticeably hard time ending–with everything wrapped up by the film’s first instance of questionable writing. The script takes a detour from it’s naturalistic tone. Like any romantic comedy, this closes on an emotional note. It won’t yank too hard on your heart strings–director Lynn Shelton knows the time and place for tears. And it generally comes off as charming and sincerely happy rather than emotionally taxing. However, if you are somebody that enjoys a good cry during a movie–fret not–you’ll have your chance.