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American Independents, Films by women

Your Sister's Sister (US 2011)

(From left) Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt

Not too much to say about this. The performances are excellent and the dialogue is witty. It’s enjoyable but slight. A few days ago someone asked me about the concept of ‘Smart Cinema’ and I said that I thought it had now run its course. Perhaps this is the current version of a type of film that plays off the standard Hollywood romcom and offers similar pleasures but more intelligent characters and some genuine dramatic tension. Mark Duplass plays Jack – a kind of ageing slacker in suburban Seattle who needs to take more time out after the death of his brother Tom. Tom’s girlfriend Iris (Emily Blunt) comes up with the perfect bolt-hole in the form of her father’s palatial log cabin on an island in the bay. Unfortunately her own half-sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) is already in residence having herself just split up with a long-standing (female) partner. When Iris pays a surprise visit to the cabin she joins Jack and Hannah and an interesting ménage à trois ensues.

Writer-director Lynn Shelton is clearly a talented filmmaker and it’s good to see someone working in their home environment. The little we see (and the music we hear) of Washington state is very attractive. I enjoyed Rosemarie DeWitt’s performance the most, but Emily Blunt is definitely turning into a fine comedienne. If only the male character had had a bit more about him than simply a puppy dog expression and a facility with words.

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