Your Sister's Sister review
Sat, 15 Sep 2012 2:00p.m.
By Kate Rodger
It only seems like yesterday we first saw what British actress Emily Blunt was capable of in her stunning break-out role as Tamsin in My Summer of Love.
She caught the attention of Hollywood shortly after, wining a Golden Globe for her performance in the British TV miniseries Gideon, before being cast opposite multiple-Oscar winner Meryl Streep in the hit movie The Devil Wears Prada.
She received another Golden Globe nomination for that and really hit the big time, going on to co-star with the likes of Matt Damon, Ewan McGregor, Jack Black and Tom Hanks.
Her smaller more indie sensibilities have run alongside her more mainstream roles, and in keeping with that, her new film Your Sister’s Sister, fresh from the New Zealand International Film Festival, arrives in Kiwi cinemas this month.
Your Sister’s Sister is a warmly offbeat and oftentimes hilarious rom-com, small in stature but big in heart, and one which worked for me on a number of levels.
Blunt plays Iris, one of two very close sisters. When her best friend Jack (Mark Duplass) inadvertently finds himself stuck between the two, their relationships are sorely tested and in the most unexpected of ways.
When we’re first introduced to story, we find that Jack has lost his way a little, and Iris packs him off to her father’s isolated country house on a nearby island so he has get his head and his life together.
Onto his bike he jumps, backpack jammed, ready for some “alone time”. The problem is, when he arrives at the house the “alone time” thing isn’t quite so alone - he finds Iris’ sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) has had exactly the same idea.
Hannah’s not exactly thrilled to have an unexpected guest, but asks him to stay nonetheless. Then a late-night tequila session takes a rather crazy turn, and things suddenly get very complicated very quickly, especially when Iris decides to pay an unscheduled visit the next morning.
The relationships here, the way they’re conveyed by the scripting and the players, are key. These three are essentially all there is to the story, it’s pivotal they all deliver, and the unfolding bewildering scenario must feel anchored in reality. They do, and it does.
DeWitt is always excellent, her outing in Rachel getting Married opposite Anne Hathaway’s Oscar-nominated performance was as equally award-worthy in my view, and she doesn’t disappoint here either. The complexities and challenges of sisterhood, especially when tested, can often be conveyed cinematically in a very excessively clichéd and overwrought way. Not here, as both actors with the help of a great script instil an authentic restraint to their interactions.
I must confess I’m not as familiar with Duplass, this is the first time I’ve encountered him onscreen. He has a gentle very relatable feel to him, turning Jack into someone you might actually know in your own circle of mates. When things spiral out of control, he too still manages to take us on that journey without alienating us.
I saw Your Sister’s Sister as part of the festival and am so pleased to see it given a full release. Despite the title, this is not necessarily a chick-flick, with plenty here for Kiwi cinefiles of any persuasion to savour.
Three and a half stars.
Your Sister's Sister
:: Director: Lynn Shelton
:: Starring: Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mark Duplass, Mike Birbiglia, Mel Eslyn
:: Running Time: 90 mins
:: Rating: M - contains sex scenes & offensive language
:: Release Date: September 13, 2012
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