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Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Directed by: SALLY POTTER
Released by: Sony Pictures Classics

In 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.

Just Say "No" to "Yes"
Droning Poetic Noise With Sparse Elements of Visual Beauty

By Jenny Peters

On 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 our attention.

The 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).

The 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.

It 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.

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