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Your Sister's Sister
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Your Sister's Sister is an independently produced romantic dramedy with smart characters, rich situations, and a lot of mature material, starting with sexual situations. A sex scene between a straight main and a lesbian woman is shown from beginning to end; there's no graphic nudity, but the scene has a big impact on the rest of the story, and other sex talk and sexual situations follow. Language is also strong, with liberal use of "f--k" and "s--t" throughout. A scene of excessive drinking contributes to the plot, and there's additional social drinking. Characters argue, but otherwise violence isn't an issue. This is a grown-up movie, but mature teens may enjoy it.
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What's the story?
On the one-year anniversary of his brother's death, Jack (Mark Duplass), is distraught and makes a scene at a party. His best friend, Iris (Emily Blunt), offers to let him stay in her family's cabin to relax and reflect. When he arrives, he discovers that Iris' lesbian sister, Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt), who has just ended a long-term relationship, is already staying there. After a night of drinking and talking, the two tumble into bed together. This causes many awkward moments and uncomfortable situations when Iris unexpectedly shows up the next day. Can these relationships survive the secrets that will eventually come out?
Is it any good?
Lynn Shelton's previous movie, Humpday, relied too heavily on an artificial situation; the story of YOUR SISTER'S SISTER springs more naturally out of the characters and their needs and desires. Shelton creates a small, safe universe in which the characters have room to breathe. Their behavior -- a mixture of scripted action and improvisation -- springs from a natural place, and while that can be uncomfortable as well as funny, it never rings false.
Shelton is also to be commended for making a film with so few characters and making it feel cinematic and open, rather than constricted, like a play. The characters achieve a balance, but the spaces around them are also part of the balance (the cabin, woods, and water provide a peaceful tone). It almost goes without saying that the actors excel and that the movie runs the gamut of emotions: funny, sad, tense, and romantic.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Your Sister's Sister drinking scene. Why are the characters drinking so much? Do they regret it? Are the consequences of their choices realistic?
Are any of these characters role models? What do they do that's admirable, and what do they do that's not so admirable?
Why would Jack agree to have sex with Hannah when he didn't love her? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.