Your Sister’s Sister

Your Sister’s Sister

Directed by: Lynn Shelton
90 minutes

New England Premiere

At a memorial party, Jack (Mark Duplass; THE PUFFY CHAIR, IFFBoston 2006) has an awkward emotional outburst that reveals the raw anguish and grief he is still burdened with a year after his brother Tom’s death. His best friend, Iris (Emily Blunt)—Tom’s girlfriend before he passed away—is concerned about Jack’s frail mental condition and recommends he take a retreat to sort out his feelings. She offers him her family’s vacation cabin on a small island in the scenic Pacific Northwest.

Upon arriving, Jack discovers that Iris’s sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt; NOBODY WALKS, playing at this year’s Festival) has also taken refuge in this serene setting after breaking up with her girlfriend of seven years. Tequila is suggested. The two bond as they drink and share the misery that brought them to this place. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to both, Iris has also decided to visit the cabin to explore her dormant, reticent feelings for Jack. When she arrives, Jack and Hannah are already regretting a brief, awkward sexual encounter that resulted from their intoxication.

Director Lynn Shelton (MY EFFORTLESS BRILLIANCE, IFFBoston 2008) has a remarkable ability to showcase the depth and complexity of human connections. In other hands, this premise might have descended into a cloying, sensationalized love triangle; but Shelton and her adept cast render fully formed, relatable human beings with meaningful attachments to each other. Their intimacy elevates YOUR SISTER’S SISTER above many other so-called relationship films—an even greater achievement given that this film is based on a collection of improvisations by the cast and was shot in 12 days.

—Nancy Campbell