Thursday, December 13, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Your Sister’s Sister (2012) ***½

R, 90 min.
Director/Writer: Lynn Shelton
Starring: Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mike Birbiglia

Lynn Shelton’s “Your Sister’s Sister” is one of those pleasant little gems that can often be found in the independent cinema scene. It has a plot the could almost be something like a Nancy Meyers rom com, but with younger actors and one little detail that just doesn’t fit into mainstream ideas. It’s charming and heartfelt, and I would recommend it ahead of 95% of Hollywood’s rom coms.

The film involves a man whose brother has died a year previous to the events in the film. At a gathering of friends (for the anniversary I suppose), this guy proves he still hasn’t come to terms with his brother’s death through some rude behavior. An ex of his brother’s, and obviously a good friend of him, suggests he go take some time just to himself at her family’s remote cabin on an island.

When he arrives, he discovers that the woman’s sister is already there. After an awkward meeting he discovers that she has come to be alone after breaking up with her long time female lover. Shelton’s screenplay cleverly sends them to bed with each other in a circumstance we’re willing to believe. But, when the brother’s ex shows up the next morning, things get a little complicated. The guy doesn’t want her to know that he slept with her sister. The sister intuits that he’s in love with his brother’s ex. Oh, the webs we weave.

I don’t know if I’ve done a good job explaining the set up. It’s all so innocent and becomes oh so complicated. It’s rather precious. The lesbian sister has a secret of her own to throw into the mix that complicates thing beyond what you might’ve imagined stepping into this rather innocent little ride. Shelton always keeps the light-hearted feel without sacrificing the weight of the characters’ emotions. She gets a good deal of help from her small but talented cast. The whole thing will leave you with a smile on your face despite the fact that at a certain point it doesn’t seem any of these characters’ emotions will ever work themselves out.

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