• Fri, Jun 15 2012

Rosemarie DeWitt Is Great In Your Sister’s Sister—Not That You’ll See It

Rosemary DeWitt is great in Your Sister’s Sister. She was great in Rachel Getting Married. And she was also terrific as Don’s artist/hippie mistress on Mad Men. She’s the kind of actress who always makes an impact but never lands the lead. And this movie isn’t likely to help.

On the surface, it seems like the perfect movie to propel her to the next level of Hollywood stardom. DeWitt is a very well liked actress who steadily works in the business. But she isn’t a household name. And in a movie like this, she takes backseat billing to stars Emily Blunt and Mark Duplass. In fact, she only lucked into the role after Rachel Weisz back out at the last minute.

Emily Blunt is the face and name at the forefront of this film. A fact underscored by the fact that I couldn’t even get a screengrab of DeWitt alone on screen for this post.

If Your Sister’s Sister was stronger, DeWitt would finally get the accolades that went to her co-star Anne Hathaway in the 2008 indie Rachel Getting Married.

There’s a similar tone to Your Sister’s Sister. And DeWitt does her part to anchor the film. But while all the characters are funny and idiosyncratic, the plot fails them.

Mark Duplass plays Jack, a guy who is still recovering from his brother’s death a year ago. Blunt is his brother’s former girlfriend Iris and suggests Jack go spend a week in her family’s house in Maine getting his head straight. But when he gets to the woods, Iris’ sister Hanna (Dewitt) is already there. She’s trying to get over her breakup with a longtime girlfriend. The two get drunk and end up sleeping together. But the next morning, Iris shows up to surprise Jack and profess her love for him. And then, hijinks!

In the last 20 minutes, this quaint little love triangle goes completely off the rails. Just when you’ve gotten accustomed to the slowly winding pace of this living room drama, the plot takes a huge swerve and expects the viewer to believe that one weekend in the woods has massively changed these three lives.

Even after watching Your Sister’s Sister, the title doesn’t quite make sense. That’s not good.

And here’s what The New York TimesA.O. Scott has to say about this movie:

“You could call “Your Sister’s Sister” a group portrait of youthful solipsists in an era of economic contraction and social malaise, but that wouldn’t be quite right. Self-absorption is not the subject; it is the paint.”

Whew. Excited to see it yet?

Your Sister’s Sister is the kind of movie that actors love (it was a big hit at The Toronto Film Festival last year) and audiences shun. Which is a shame. Because Rosemarie Dewitt is the kind of actor’s actor that should be getting bigger roles. She was a large part of making Don Draper interesting in the first seasons of Mad Men — by countering the stereotype of his other one-dimensional conquests — and she holds her own in every role she gets.

DeWitt is by far from a struggling actress. She consistently gets work in Hollywood, and is no longer a bookstore loiterer.

But in this movie she is TERRIFIC. And she should be even bigger. She may not have the polished, cartoonish looks of the models that are cast in action films today, but director Lynn Shelton has given her a paired down sexiness that electrifies the movie. Also, I’m in love with her nose. And her hair. She has a mastery of looking great without looking done and often looks better than her co-stars in this movie’s outdoorsy scenes.

Women would do terrible things for these bangs:

As Hanna, DeWitt’s a sexy lesbian without being the kind of unicorn that writers usually dream up when they fantasize of gay women who end up sleeping with men. In my opinion, she actually outshines Emily Blunt here. But few people will find that out. Because they probably won’t see it.

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  • Kelsey Manning

    If you scroll quickly over this picture on the main page, how much does Emily Blunt look like Rory Gilmore? Anyone?