Your Sister's Sister - the Movie - Will Pop Your Perceptions
An eruption pulsed
beneath the surface of a relationship with a treasured friend already before I entered the theater. Maybe that was what alterted me to the radio notice that this fascinating film was about to show that day. Intrigued, I made a date to see Your Sister's Sister that very evening.
I bit the hook
and am I ever glad I did. My buddy Jodee and I spent 90 engrossing minutes unaware that we might just find the link to the chasm that was already opening up between us out in the world.
We each entered the lives of the characters and carried some of their predicament into our lives after the show.
We already lived in the emerald state
right on Puget Sound, and that's the site of the film - glorious Orcas Island, one of the string of the Sound's northern jewels, the San Juan Islands.
My friend knew the place, but to me it was still a writer's retreat of aspiration. Thirty years ago I had tried unsuccessfully to book a cabin for a week long family hideaway, learning that most places were booked up years in advance; we visited the Olympic Peninsula instead.
Entering the lives of Jack, Iris, and Hannah,
it was immediately puzzlingly disconcerting. At the funeral celebration Jack, played by Mark Duplass, turns the tables on everyone. Hearing a friend memorialize Jack's late brother Tom, Jack interrupts. He sets off a verbal chain of fireworks that, to him more truthfully portrays the reality of his brother.
Wait-a-minute. Have you ever done that? Have you spontaneously burst forth with the facts you believe everyone else is blithely ignoring? I have, so for me it was a slippery slide right into Jack's mind.
Right at the moment I was Jack
and caught all the rest of the dialogue with ears shaped like his. Along with him I accepted Iris' offer of a week in seclusion at a locale that reminded me of my grandparents' cottage on the lake near Seaside, Oregon, another Northwest landmark.
I know from that experience that even the tiniest cabin on a very small lot can seem isolated from its nearest neighbors, so festive and lush is the vegetation for landscape on the wet side of the Cascade Mountains and especially on waterfront property on Puget Sound.
Our family property on Westlake
in Oregon, offered children all the wonders of history (the 12' high scrolled iron gates to the driveway surely must have been imported from a European castle), mystery, intrigue (how did the bats get into the fireplace?), rowboats, solitude on the water shore, everything one wants in a hideaway.
So, when I heard Iris' description of the family cabin I immediately linked it with memories of our caretaker's cabin that sat at the entrance to Grandpa's estate up the long drive. Quickly I viewed images of the tiny windows at our boathouse down on the lake shore, as Jack peered through the Orcas windows in a fit of voyeurism.
Jodee and I immersed ourselves in
the dialogue - the meat of the movie - oblivious to the experience of the other. Death, sibling differences, mourning, longings, well meaning friends, threats to our individual welfare, the quest for a peaceful period of anonymous solitude, and finding the outrageous humor in some idiot's point of view (unvoiced, of course), had knocked on each of our doors.
We both washed along on the crest of jubilation and slid down to the depths as the storyline's waves crashed over us, so by movie's end we were in need of a week-long retreat to Orcas Island. We settled for coffee across the street outside a coffee house.
The big surprise to me was how
we held such opposing positions, as our takes on the story unfolded across the tiny table. A listener at a nearby table might have found our discussion as fascinating and puzzling as we did Your Sister's Sister.
The darling part of this event was the depth to which our conversation explored our individual lives and their intersections in our contemporary settings. It wasn't sweet. It was deep, challenging, and enlightening, deeply rewarding.
A few lingering questions:
- Just who was the victim, and who was the user and was anyone innocent on any level?
- Did Jack just suck up everything that came his way, or did he contribute to his relationships?
- Was Hannah's gender orientation really important, or was it just for gratuitous hype?
- Could we detect any underlying cause for Iris' solicitation?
My Rating: 5 Stars, in spite of that dorky photo on the cover.
I did it - returned to college after child raising, and felt like I had never left. Lucky for me, I had years to finish a graduate degree.
Such a return is rife with opportunities for play and for growth, both abundant in this 4 Star Rated film.
Across the color line two girlfriends mingle and explore the intersections of their lives.
Like Your Sister's Sister, this film introduces the audience to uncomfortable moments in a very traditionally conservative American college setting.
Those same squiggly moments can be occasions for expansive learning opportunities.
When we restrict ourselves to that which we know and that which is pretty, we shortchange our brains and our consciences.