Boy loses brother. Girl offers boy summer home to recuperate. Boy meets girl's sister, sparks fly. Complications ensue. Tribeca selection Your Sister's Sister has some great moments of comedy and truth. It's also moves quickly to the "complications ensue" part. Some twists and turns you don't ever see coming, and will have your mouth hanging open.
Mark Duplass plays Jack, who is still grieving a year after the death of his brother. His friend (who was also his brother's ex), played by Emily Blunt, offers him a family home to stay in. When he gets there, her sister (Rosemarie DeWitt) is mourning after a breakup with her longtime partner. Though she's a lesbian, the two hook up, and are totally unprepared for the other sister's arrival the next day. Did I mention Duplass' character may have a bit of chemistry with Blunt's character, even though she dated his brother and he just had sex with her sister?
One of the things I loved most about Your Sister's Sister was the setting, a beach house in the San Juan Islands, a few hours and a long ferry ride from Seattle. It's a beautiful, remote, and austere location that perfectly fits the narrative. Having been there a few times myself, I felt both sentimental and grateful for the refreshing change of pace--no Martha's Vineyard or the Hamptons! Lynn Shelton, who received accolades for 2009 film Humpday, directs.
Your Sister's Sister does have some sections that lag. The (improvised) dialogue is real, but that also means it sometimes goes in circles or off in odd directions before moving forward. Still, this one is a "recommend" for indie film lovers because of one particularly satisfying twist and its interesting ending. It's already been picked up by IFC Films and will release June 15.
Take This Waltz also employs a love triangle, but its moments of drama and romance outweigh those of comedy. Michelle Williams plays a woman who's unhappily married to Seth Rogen, and has started to feel an attraction to her neighbor (Luke Kirby). The drama had one of the oddest narrative structures I've seen in some time. I kept waiting for the movie to end, only to realize after some time that in fact I was waiting for the second act to end--we still had a third! With an incredibly lagging middle (see the "waiting for the movie to end" part), this was a film that provoked a lot of frustration but had such a sensational point to make in its ending I forgave the movie's shortcomings. Writer/director Sarah Polley (Away From Her) doesn't make it clear if Williams' character is going through the normal boredom of an established relationship or if she's truly unhappy and a bad match with her partner. Her character doesn't seem to know, and neither does the audience. But as her character pursues a new relationship, we get to see a relationship cycle repeat itself. By the end, I was in possession of a strong opinion about Williams' character.
Although it has big-name stars, Take This Waltz has huge continuity problems that drove me mad. Williams' hair changes colors and styles between scenes. I spoke to someone in the screening who didn't notice, but I was amazed that such a huge lapse could not be addressed and fixed somehow. Now I know why so many film productions make their characters wear wigs! Take This Waltz has also been picked up for a post-festival release through Magnolia on June 29.
Check back for more Tribeca updates, which will conclude early next week.