Written and directed by Lynn Shelton.
I believe there’s this refreshing feeling when you’re watching a film by Lynn Shelton. It’s like you’re watching something live. Basically, it feels pretty much alive, it’s a recognizable unpredictableness because we usually also know how human beings’ actions are driven by a few things we might share in common. I may transcend notions of reality and fiction, but in some ways, Shelton can do what reality shows are incapable of doing, which can be pretty simple, she not only sounds truer but she also has this more reliable take than the reality show itself. I think more than ever, film, reality television, documentaries share fundamentally a common language and she understands her own very well in order to succeed in the common language.
The story deals with two friends, Jack lost his brother a year ago and he’s still coping with the loss, still finding a balance so Iris decides to send him to a remote cottage on a island in order for him to find himself. When Jack arrives to the house he’s faced with an unpredictability, Iris’s half sister Hannah is in the cottage and it is also recovering from a heartbreak and is also trying to start over. Their mutual share of crisis and tequila leads them to bed. Then Iris arrives to the cottage the next day to their surprise, but she also brings other intentions, she’s in love with Jack.
Gradually, with its slow paced genuine revealing moments, it becomes a triangle in increasing conflict. Emily Blunt is Iris, Hanna’s younger sister, who looks for her comfort and reasoning. It could be said she’s the center. Jack, who’s late brother Iris dated for quite a while is afraid of revealing his affections for Iris because of that but also because he’s afraid he’s not good enough for her. He could also be the center, or better yet, in the middle of this triangle, especially because of the strong bounds between these two sisters. But then should be Hannah, whose life is just starting over and finds herself caught in some conflicts in ways she could have not predicated when she consciously and out of a selfish and vulnerable position slept with her sister’s best friend Jack. So the whole dynamic floats with steam, with passionate chemistry and honest balance. These three actors work beautifully here, they’re amazing. Rosemarie DeWitt is so charming. It’s really refreshing watching Emily Blunt in this position, where she’s wearing her own clothes and such, but it’s really about their integrity and devotion to the project.
So all it takes is a couple of common but fundamental life intricacies that anyone can relate to and then a film like this one becomes twenty times a much richer experience than Friends with Benefits and other joking bullshits.