Directed by: SALLY POTTER
Starring: JOAN ALLEN, SAM NEILL,
SIMON ABKARIAN, SHIRLEY HENDESRON
Released by: Sony Pictures Classics
Short: Shakespeare this is definitely not,
despite all the film's dialogue being recited
in iambic pentameter. The overwhelming effect of "Yes" is
a droning poetic noise. Ergo: Take your nap
at home, not at the movies.
Say "No" to "Yes"
Droning Poetic Noise With Sparse
Elements of Visual Beauty
By Jenny Peters
paper, the idea of quirky writer-director Sally Potter's
("Orlando") latest film "Yes" sounds
really compelling: star-crossed lovers (Joan Allen and
newcomer Simon Abkarian) only speak to each other in rhyming
poetry as their illicit and torrid relationship develops.
The problem is, when transferred onto the big screen,
there's little spark between the two, the Shakespearean-influenced
dialogue spoken in iambic pentameter quickly seems forced,
and the plot is so oft-told that there is nothing to hold
story, set in London, puts the married Allen (an American
scientist) into an accidental relationship with Abkarian,
a Middle Eastern surgeon who is not allowed to practice
medicine in England. Thus, he is forced to work as a chef,
a situation he isn't very happy about—especially
due to the post-9/11 Anglo prejudices against his Arab
background. When the couple meet and begin their affair,
it is all about talking—droning, really—about
their conflicted lives, interspersed with a few dull scenes
featuring Allen's icy cold estranged spouse (Sam Neill).
film has moments of visual beauty, especially when the
lovers decide to run away to Cuba. The British production
actually went to Havana to shoot those scenes, and it
is fascinating to see what that once-beautiful city has
devolved into under Castro's rule. But that section comes
long after any interest in the film has waned, in the
last ten minutes or so of the 95-minute slog.
truly is tough to stay alert and awake as these normally
fine actors toil relentlessly through such deadly boring
moments. The only saving grace is Shirley Henderson as
a weird, germ-obsessed maid, whose comments on what lives
on our skins and in our homes are hilarious. But her moments
are few and far between, making the overwhelming effect
of "Yes" a droning poetic noise that is only
successful if you have paid your ten dollar admission
fee in order to have a dark place for a nap.