Yes

"Bad"

Yes Review


Rambling monologues featuring rhyming dialogue. Lead characters named "He" and "She." Camerawork aching to be lauded in Film Comment. A maid serving as a philosophical voice of reason. It's all there in Yes, Sally Potter's endless, numbing cinematic essay on... on... something.

"She" (Joan Allen) is a London-based scientist (born in Belfast, raised in America) whose open marriage to her stoic, stuffy husband (Sam Neill) is dying a slow, painful death. "He" (Simon Abkarian) is a cook from Beirut, who meets her at a party, beginning a torrid affair that puts both on a physical and emotional trek taking them to Beirut, Belfast, New York, and a groovy Cuba.

It's not a fun trip. I was bored within 30 minutes, utterly confused by 60, and planning my exit at 90. Potter's intricate, rhyming dialogue (iambic pentameter?) is clever at first, a way to make the movie and its topics timeless. As her characters rant on and on, jumping on and off topics like democracy, love, God's existence, parenthood, science, death, and U.S./Middle East relations, any appeal vanishes, as sheer boredom sets in. Not even Neill playing air guitar can lighten things up.

Yes doesn't take a break, which is not good with the tapestry of philosophical and social arguments presented. Potter, who also wrote the script, is relentless in the way the worst political pundits are; she doesn't shut up until all of her points are heard, so there's no time to digest anything that comes your way. The movie plays like a more pretentious version of Mike Nichols' Closer, if that's actually possible, a film so packed with unrealistic, dramatic dialogue you couldn't relate to anything or anyone in it. With Yes, you can't even follow anything. Even the film's sage guide, "She"'s maid (Shirley Henderson), sounds like a confused fortune cookie.

What Potter is trying to accomplish here, I have no idea. My best guess is she wanted to make a love story about the concept of love and how it can be affected by outside forces. The inherent flaw in that plan is that love doesn't involve concepts, but people, people with feelings and thoughts and motivations. Yes doesn't offer that story, though it could: Allen is a great actress, and Abkarian, with his sly smile and brooding undercurrent, is charismatic and edgy when he's not babbling.

No one is saying Potter should buy a Delia Ephron script and start phoning Sandra Bullock's agent. There must be a better way for Potter to get her message -- whatever it is -- across without writing a movie everyone's seen already. Charlie Kaufman did it in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, so it's not impossible. In Yes, Potter fails miserably at her attempt, a jarring, pseudo-intellectual mess that leaves you ostracized, bored, and confused. In other words, say no to Yes.

Allen with audience.



Yes

Facts and Figures

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Friday 5th August 2005

Box Office USA: $0.2M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 52%
Fresh: 45 Rotten: 41

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Man, as Woman

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Advertisement
Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.