Sally Potter, directed by Sally Potter, and with Joan Allen, Simon Abkarian, Sam Niell, Shirley Henderson, Samantha Bond"/>
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With: Joan Allen, Simon Abkarian, Sam Niell, Shirley Henderson, Samantha Bond
Written by: Sally Potter
Directed by: Sally Potter
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual content
Running Time: 95
Date: 09/04/2004

Yes (2005)

2 Stars (out of 4)

From Bad to Verse

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I usually give Sally Potter a lot of slack; I've enjoyed all three of her feature films so far (Orlando, The Tango Lesson and The Man Who Cried), even if I've been alone in doing so. She's an intelligent and sensitive filmmaker who usually establishes breathing room for her deeply felt characters. However her latest film, Yes, is a failed experiment. Joan Allen plays an Irish-born woman stuck in a loveless, childless marriage to a philandering husband (Sam Neill). She meets a Lebanese cook (Simon Abkarian) who was once a surgeon in Beirut, and begins a love affair. Written entirely in verse, Yes requires the actors to suffer through long passages of blathering talk, and the scenes routinely dry out long before they end. Potter attempts to add layers to the film by hinting at political paranoia and showing scenes through surveillance cameras, but the verse angle nullifies these attempts. The superb Allen is capable of extremes: from icy control to dropping her emotional guard, yet she cannot make this film's rhythms work. Shirley Henderson, playing a maid who observes the action and breaks the fourth wall by speaking directly to the camera, shows just how the film might have played, with her silky, slithering delivery; she plays with the words like a snake might toy with a mouse.

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