Monday, 4 November 2013


“People talk about mumblecore but I prefer bumblecore, hyper-realistic bee movies about how bees really are.” - Mindy Kaling

Last weekend we watched a very disappointing film that convinced me once again that I am definitely getting older and that I have crossed the generation gap (possibly two generation gaps…). I am now a middle aged man heading towards the conservatism of old age, and have begun to view many of the new generation’s “culture” with incomprehension and therefore a fair degree of disdain. There! Having confessed my prejudice, you can now take my review of the film with as much salt as you care to sprinkle on it.

The film is Lynn Shelton’s 2011 “Your Sister’s Sister” starring Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt. This is ostensibly classified as a comedy, but “romantic” it definitely isn’t. It concerns a triangle of two half-sisters and their man friend. One of the sisters is lesbian, the other is straight and the man is the most infuriating, lily-livered, sleazy nong I have seen in recent times in films. The sisters vie for his attentions and there is a lot of talking, swearing, sleeping with each other and generally a lot of airing of “contemporary” issues – sex, lesbianism, relationships, marriage, sex, friendship, family, sex, veganism, death, sex, lies, pretensions, dirty talk, hypocrisy…

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a very tolerant person and quite accepting of people’s lifestyles and sexual orientations. What I won’t tolerate is twaddle masquerading as wit, swearing masquerading as candour, and lack of a story masquerading as realism. The film was largely improvised by the three lead actors and it shows. Movies have a written script because it really does show when there is no script, as in this movie.  And actors who pretend to be real but turn out phony. The film was dull, predictable and completely lacking any charm.

Mark Duplass exemplified the bathos of acting in this movie, in which he was a co-producer, along with several others and Lynn Shelton the director who also ‘wrote” it. He is completely unlikeable and has no redeeming features whatsoever, I’m afraid. Emily Blunt I have watched before and she acted well, but in this film she cannot do anything with the drivel of first world problems she was subjected to act in. Rosemarie de Witt tries the hardest to make something of her cardboard cutout role as the lesbian sister, however, once again the material she has to work with betrays her efforts.

I watched very patiently through the first half-hour of the movie, trying to swallow the bilge, hoping it would start getting interesting… But no, it just went on and on without anybody saying or doing anything that made me think. The ending was the worst. Smug, gratuitous, predictable, self-indulgent and “mumblecore” to its core… In case you don't know what this is:

Mumblecore is a subgenre of American independent film characterised by low budget production values and amateur actors, heavily focussed on naturalistic dialogue, which began in 2002 and unfortunately continues to be made to the present. The first mumblecore movie is considered to be Andrew Bujalski’s 2002 movie “Funny Ha Ha” - another irritating movie without a plot, with people who are uninteresting, boring, whiny and aimless.

Watch “Your Sister’s Sister” at your risk – we felt we wasted 90 minutes of our life at the end of it. Reading some of the hype, including the critics’ quotes on the promo poster above makes me roll my eyes. What are these people thinking? Please, get a life!

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you Nicholas. Mumblecore isn't my thing at all. I'll give this one a miss.