On Your Sister’s Sister

Your Sister’s Sister tells the story of a particularly twisted love triangle. Written and directed by Lynn Sheldon, this independent dramedy is well acted with Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, and Rosemarie Dewitt at the forefront. And though this tale is one of complicated romantic relationships, the story is well told, appropriately paced and never succumbs to the extraneous complications and forced situational humor that a more mainstreaming telling of the story might have entailed.

Jack, portrayed by Duplass, and Iris, played by Blunt, are best friends of the opposite sex, a pair whose platonic relationship is simultaneously confused and shored by the fact that Iris dated Jack’s brother who died just a year prior. Jack is in dire need of a change of scenery, given the toll that his brother’s death and other circumstances in his life have taken. When Iris offers her father’s empty lakeside vacation house, nestled in the dense Pacific Northwest forest free of neighbors, Jack takes up the invitation for solitude and relaxation. When he arrives, however, Iris’s sister Hannah, portrayed by Dewitt, has already taken up residence in the no longer isolated house.

Once Jack and Hannah come to terms with the fact that their respective plans for isolation have been foiled, they nearly finish a bottle of tequila together while sharing the woes which have led them to their current state of affairs. The effect of the tequila is not unfelt by Jack or Hannah, and they spend the rest of the night together. They are party to an alarming wake up call the following morning when Iris turns up unannounced, having made the trip in an effort to cheer up Jack. Iris is surprised and delighted to find her sister there as well as her best friend, though she is not immediately privy to the fact that Hannah and Jack came to know one another in remarkably intimate ways the night before. While Hannah and Jack dance around the mistake they made on their first night at the house, Iris confesses her feelings for Jack to her sister, only further complicating the whole twisted plot.

Sure, it sounds a bit confusing and maybe the plot of Your Sister’s Sister sounds a little forced. But unlike more typical films of tangled love triangles, the motivations of each character in this movie are clearly drawn, though maybe not at first apparent. In the hands of a lesser director, this story could have easily become hysterical and ridiculous, the situations overly contrived for comedy and drama. But Sheldon explores the more subtle and human, though still entertaining, sides of this story.

Your Sister’s Sister isn’t a tale of two sisters competing for the love of one man at all, but rather the story of how we let fear and emotion dictate our lives. An exploration of love, motivation, and healing, Your Sister’s Sister is a film that I find myself increasingly appreciative of as I think back on it more and more. Viewers are rewarded for sticking out all 80-some minutes of this film because it is so well crafted and thoughtfully constructed which any movie lover can surely appreciate.

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