By Caryn James | James on Screens April 21, 2012 at 3:32PM
It’s a small relationship film with a big bold impact: witty, nuanced, beautifully acted, Your Sister’s Sister is one of the best movies so far at the Tribeca Film Festival.
As director Lynn Shelton proved in Humpday, she’s expert at depicting off-kilter triangles. Here Jack (Mark Duplass) is mourning his brother, who died the year before. Emily Blunt plays Iris, who broke up with the brother long before his death and, in the unlikely way of movie relationships, is also Jack’s best friend. Even less likely, when she sends Jack to the family cabin near Seattle for some emotional R&R, he meets and has totally drunken sex with her half- sister, Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt), who has just broken up with her long-term girlfriend.
This is not a scenario most directors could or would even want to pull off, but Shelton and her actors make it more than believable – it’s actually touching. There are screwball touches, as Iris show up at the cabin, and we learn more about who secretly loves whom. The scenes are mostly small, as the three of them, in often-improvised episodes, have dinner or go for walks. There is a big emotional climax. But the wonder is watching these three actors at their best, bringing their unexpected story to such warm and naural life.
Your Sister’s Sister plays again at Tribeca on Sunday April 22, and Wednesday the 25th, and opens in theaters in June.