Film in review: “Your Sister’s Sister”

OK, all you biblically literate folks out there, remember when Jacob wound up marrying two sisters at once? Yeah, and Rachel, the younger one, he preferred, because she was lovely, and Leah, the older one, was cross-eyed or crossways or something or other that somehow made her less appealing.

Well, yes, the sisters’ sibling rivalry continued through the marriage (anyone who wants to interpret what was going on with that mandrake incident in Genesis 30 is welcome to educate me). And Jacob’s preference for one or the other continued even unto their progeny, which led to the whole Joseph saga and the Israelites winding up in Egypt ….. Well, that’s another story. But the scenario of a man winding up with two sisters at once is the theme of the unusual little indie movie “Your Sister’s Sister.”

Writer and Director Lynn Shelton presents us with a little different twist on the old threesome. Really more of an elongated sitcom, there are numerous “adult situations,” lots of coarse language, one very awkward coupling, but little real sexuality, no apparent eroticism, and no gratuitous nudity, or any other kind, either. We just talk about sex a lot, we don’t really show anything. The characters all spend their time being alternately cloying and angry with each other, then pouting, then forgiving, and we have plenty of shifting two-on-one dynamics, and some half-sister half-committed sibling love. But Ms. Shelton ends it by leaving the biggest plot twist up in the air, and inviting the viewers to decide what happens.

Most viewers I know would not be enamored with that kind of “leaves-you-hanging” ending. But then, maybe that’s how Jacob spent most of his life.

Ronald P. Salfen is minister of St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church in Irving, Texas.

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