Best of 2012/ My best in film list, including (from top to bottom) Argo (best of the year), Lincoln (drama), 21 Jump Street (comedy), Your Sister’s Sister (dramedy), Looper (sci-fi), The Avengers (action/adventure), Chronicle (psychological thriller), The Perks of Being a Wallflower(adaptation), and Django Unchained (social commentary). Read more on why I choose these here.
Slowly but surely, I’m still building on my previous list…
61. Someone can only hold you back from a better life if you let them [Smashed] 62. The group of outcasts is the group I want to be in [The Perks of Being a Wallflower] 63. The best men are the ones that stand up for their beliefs [Hunger] 64. Forget about coming up with a plan for anarchy, saying sentences with more than 5 “v” words, it difficult enough for me. Also, a shaved head can be hot. [V is for Vendetta]
I love second chances. Your Sister’s Sister was a movie that I initially kinda dismissed in seeing at this year’s Sundance festival as the synopsis didn’t jump out at me as being anything really new. But throughout the festival and after, I heard some good things about this film which delves into the relationships between three people - two sisters and one of the sister’s best friend. This led me to include this film on my list of what I wanted to see at Tribeca since it seems to be hitting the festival circuit and showed up as a Tribeca selection. I’m so glad I did. I loved Emily Blunt (Iris) in this; she’s plays her conflicted character nicely. I’m glad I got to Rose Dewitt (Hannah) as well as Mark Duplass (Jack) who is the standout, two actors I was not too familiar with. I really liked the pacing of the film, how we slowly began to understand the dynamics of between established relationships - the one between Iris and Hannah and also the one between Iris and Jack - and how that affected the new relationship we witness developed on screen between Hannah and Jack. Your Sister’s Sister (which I think it a very fitting and great choice of a title) ultimately becomes a sweet and sometimes funny tale of becoming unstuck from the past and moving forward. My Grade: B
(SPOILERS) The movie begins with the a memorial of sorts among friends in a living room, a one year commemoration of the lose of Tom. Tom, we learn is Iris’ ex who happens to also be Jack’s brother. We never really learn the circumstances around Tom’s death but that doesn’t really matter. Through the eyes of his friends, he was a martyr, someone who would give up his shirt for someone in need, or more aptly as the one of his friends recalled, his bed so his friend could have sex with a girl. Jack, though, had a different opinion of his late brother, that he was a flawed individual who was slightly manipulative and self-centered. Tom’s friends can’t believe he would bash his dead brother. Jack defends his stance but quickly and sweetly laments how his brother was still the best person he has ever know. This becomes only a tactic to bring down this perfect characterization of Tom, a ghost that he feels he can’t compete with. You see, Jack is in love with Iris, a fact that we infer throughout the movie and is confirmed at the end. Actually, Iris is also in love with Jack, but all this is unspoken and Tom’s ghosts seems to hover between them, keeping them apart.
And then other circumstances threaten to come between them in the form of Iris’ older sister Hannah. At the memorial, Iris, realizing the extent of Jack’s misery over his brother’s death, suggests that he goes up to her family’s cabin for some alone time. There he meets Hannah. While the movie could have revisit a been-there-done-that storyline of a traditional love triangle, it departs from it. Hannah is a lesbian and doesn’t have any real interest in Jack. But after a binge on tequila who they bond over their mutual heartbreak - for her the end of a long-term relationship, they have a (very funny) sexual encounter. Iris comes up to the cabin the next day, obviously in a plan to be alone with Jack and potentially tell him about her feelings. It is through the interactions between these three characters alone in this cabin, that all is reveal in a great stream of drama and emotion. Jack tells Hannah not to say anything about them having sex. Iris tells Hannah for her feelings for Jack, which Hannah never knew about. Jack discovers Hannah poked holes in the condom to get pregnant. Hannah tells Iris about her and Jack and then accidentally reveals Iris’ feelings to Jack. Iris finds out about Hannah’s scheming. Somewhere through all of that though, these three people make it through, demonstrate their great capacity for forgiveness, and discover a unique bond.
Check out the trailer for this film below:
Post-Tribeca To Do List (continued): 5. Watch the Mark Duplass’ (a fellow Louisianian!) film The Puffy Chair 6. Work on my British accent; it always sounds charming
2 Days in New York Directed and written by Julie Delpy
Synopsis: This deliriously witty follow-up to 2 Days in Paris finds Marion (writer/director Julie Delpy) living a comfortable life in New York with her latest hipster boyfriend, Mingus (Chris Rock, brilliantly playing it straight), and their two young kids from prior relationships. A riotous comedy of cultural errors ensues when Marion’s totally unhinged, gleefully unfiltered family arrives from Paris to meet Mingus for the first time. Why I want to see it: Ahh, second chances. I missed this when it premiered at Sundance this year, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to see it during Tribeca. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a HUGE Julie Delpy fan from Before Sunrise/Before Sunset and the prequel to this one, 2 Days in Paris. I’m also coming around to the charms of Chris Rock; he is, after all, the first celebrity I ever met (email me, and I’ll share the story with you).
Free Samples Directed by Jay Gammill, written by Jim Beggarly
Synopsis: Jillian is having a bad day. She’s got a raging hangover, she’s starting to think dropping out of Stanford Law to become an artist wasn’t the best career move, and things are weird with her faraway fiancé. Can spending the day parked in an ice cream truck doling out samples—and a good dose of sass—to oddball Angelenos shake her out of her quarter-life crisis? Jess Weixler, Jesse Eisenberg, and Jason Ritter star in this quirky comedy. What I want to see this: Tatted Jason Ritter! Ice cream samples (wait is this channeling The Wackness?)! Twenty-somethings who think quarter-life crises are a real thing! An undisclosed role for Jesse Eisenberg!
Hysteria Directed by Tanya Wexler, written by Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer
Synopsis: Set in 19th-century London at the peak of Victorian prudishness, this racy romantic comedy tells the surprising story of the birth of the electro-mechanical vibrator. A progressive young doctor (Hugh Dancy, Adam) has his hands full relieving the city’s affluent society women of their melancholy, until an accidental discovery electrifies their lives forever—and sends sparks flying between him and a feminist rabble-rouser (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Why I want to see this: Ooo, I’m familiar with this story on how the vibrator was actually discovered (though I won’t tell you how I heard ::giggle like a schoolgirl::) and it’s so interesting that they actually created a feature around this story. I have been waiting for something new from the very talented Hugh Dancy so this may just do the trick.
Take This Waltz Directed and written by Sarah Polley
Synopsis: Margot (Michelle Williams) and Lou (Seth Rogen) are happily married. Their life is thrown out of order when Margot falls for another man and is forced to choose between the comfort of the familiar and the excitement of the unknown. Writer-director Sarah Polley’s follow-up to her acclaimed film Away From Here is a quirky, uncommonly heartfelt look at the evolving nature of love and the difficulty of sustaining a relationship over time. Why I want to see this: I can’t help but be interested in a world, no matter that it is fictitious, in which Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen are married. Simple as that.
Your Sister’s Sister Directed and written by Lynn Shelton
Synopsis: Jack (Mark Duplass) hasn’t recovered from his brother’s death. His best friend—and late brother’s ex—Iris (Emily Blunt) sends him to her family’s isolated cabin for some quiet reflection, but complications, rivalries, and surprising revelations arise when both Iris and her heartbroken sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) end up at the cabin as well. Lynn Shelton’s long-awaited follow-up to Humpday heralds a graceful maturation of the reliably against-the-grain filmmaker. Why I want to see it: Yet another film I missed at Sundance. I really didn’t have any plans to see this movie but everywhere I went in Park City, I heard people talking about it and how great it was. That’s enough for me.