With my liking for Lena Dunham’s self-deprecating work, my appreciation of Your Sister’s Sister seems to have pegged me as a fan of the “Mumblecore” movement.
YSS is another very naturalistic, low-drama film that leaves the audience to make of it what they will. However without Dunham’s self-mockery, I find the social group it portrays almost unbearably odious: pretentious pontification, self-righteous hypocrisy, and lots of swearing for emphasis. To clarify, the portrayal is incredibly accurate (perhaps it’s because of the improvisation of the actors), it’s just that I have trouble putting up with such people.
One of the most annoying traits of this slice of society is their extreme, transparent insincerity – everything is “amazing” and “wonderful” unless the other party doesn’t think so, in which case it becomes “awful” and “terrible” (see the pancakes). The countless statements of “I love you” dilute the phrase to a greeting. As a result I found it very difficult to figure out whether Jack was sincere or not for the entire movie – was he really connecting with Hannah in cliches, or was he tritely trying to seduce her? Did he care about Iris, or was he just telling her exactly what she wanted to hear? I really couldn’t tell.
The storyline is twisty for Mumblecore naturalism – I found Hannah’s actions vile but given the way the other characters and most reviewers let them pass, it seems that they really weren’t that out of the ordinary.
Your Sister’s Sister is an extremely good portrayal, depicting relationships in negotiation, deception and conflict (via mundane means like telling embarrassing stories and playing passive-aggressive pranks).