Buzzworthy Moviefilm: Indie Drama ‘Your Sister’s Sister’

Posted in Movies on December 18th, 2012 by Nick

your-sister-s-sister01One wouldn’t think that an Indie Drama with only three primary characters ensconced in a small getaway home would elicit such dynamic performances from its cast, but Your Sister’s Sister delivers this and more.

After the untimely death of his brother, Jack (Mark Duplass) has an emotionally challenging year, and takes up his friend Iris’s offer (who is also his dead brother’s ex-girlfriend, played by Emily Blunt) to spend some time at her father’s island-isolated cabin. Unbeknownst to both of them, Isis’s sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) is also seeking refuge there after ending a seven-year-old relationship with her girlfriend. Things get hairy after a night of drunken shenanigans between Jack and Hannah, followed by Iris’s arrival the next morning, who comes carrying a secret of her own.

Writer-director Lynn Shelton has constructed a sweet, yet sometimes heartbreaking story of three friends, sisters and lovers, and masterfully massages the dynamics of each two-some, accordingly. Duplass juggles the contradiction of mournful flippancy with ease, while never sacrificing character. DeWitt, a pro at handling hyper-dysfunction (United States of Tara, Rachel Getting Married) is at her best here, while not to discredit Blunt, who definitely holds her own in great company. The three combined have an on-screen chemistry that carries the film beautifully, which perhaps, might not had been as effective in the hands of other actors.

Your Sister’s Sister is a simple story, yet it’s packed with realistic situations and tangible, relatable emotions. How these characters move forward and adapt to their unraveling surroundings and relationships is inherently what life is all about.

Grade: B+

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Saying Goodbye to ‘Tara’ and All Her ‘Good Parts’

Posted in TV on July 13th, 2011 by Nick

This post contains spoilers from United States of Tara’s
third and final season

And another one bites the dust. The last episode of United States of Tara aired almost a month ago, but the hauntingly perfect season-turned-series finale is still running rabid in my mind.

Over the last three seasons, we’ve seen Tara Gregson (Toni Collette) struggle between balancing a normal family life for her husband and two kids, while trying to survive a debilitating bout of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). As her chaotic existence unfolded in front of our very eyes, we got to know her many alters – separate characters of the show, all beautifully performed by Collette. There’s the elegant 50′s housewife Alice, impulsive southern macho man Buck, and the raging and hormonal teenager, T. Although Tara’s life was turned upside down, we watched these four characters, Tara included, co-habitate one life, one body…one family. The strange part was – most of the time, it worked!

Starting from the beginning of the series, the Gregsons pulled off the most normal family life possible. As we peered into their daily lives, son and daughter Marshall and Kate (Keir Gilchrist and Brie Larson) had good heads on their shoulders – kids wise beyond their years – while husband Max (John Corbett) was ultra support-guy. Shit got weird, but the Gregsons kept their heads up and held strong.

In its final season, we saw Tara became a real danger to herself and those around her. An alter kidnaps her sister’s newborn, she feeds crab to her very-allergic professor, and another alter violently accosts her son.  New alters sprouted up unexpectedly, intensifying the drama and stress level for all involved. And then at the height of the show’s prime, Showtime pulled the plug. No season 4 for us. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

Thankfully for viewers, the final episode left us with a nice, yet chilling ending – one that provided us with enough answers to part ways with, and one that  reminded us just how far we had come and how special this fictional family actually is. We caught a glimpse of support-guy Max breaking down and learned why he would never abandon his family. We saw lost-in-life Kate find her way, at least for now. We witnessed Marshall overcome the loss of his ex-boyfriend.

In the series’ last few moments,  it was decided that Tara must flee to Boston to seek the help of specialist for a few months. As Tara is saying goodbye to her family, Marshall tells her: “When you get to Boston, don’t let them pull out all the good parts.” Tara replies, “You guys are my good parts.” As Tara and Max drive down the highway, Max assures her that he turned the child-proof locks on, which Tara admits is probably a good idea. She sticks her head out, feels the rush of the wind, and smiles onward toward new beginnings.

For a show that didn’t know its time was up, Diablo Cody and her team of writers ended the season beautifully. In life, there never is “an ending,” really. No nice, neat packages; no bows on top. We should all learn to be a little more like the Gregsons – keeping our heads high, while laughing through the tougher times.  And when times are tough, we look forward to the hope for a better tomorrow as our ongoing sagas and dramas continue to roll on.

And I can’t explain how devastating it is that we won’t get to see Tara’s tomorrow.


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