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Yes [DVD] [2005]

4.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JNXX
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 535,694 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Let's be clear: "Yes" is challenging stuff. Everyone speaks in verse. The central relationship is so intense that you suffer with the characters as things go wrong. The central themes – the complexities of love and of understanding different cultures – are at times depressing. Yet the elegance of the direction; the quality of the script and acting; and the humour and humanity with which the story is presented make this a real treat: moving, funny and thought-provoking.
Downsides: don't watch this if you want a relaxed, fun evening. More seriously, I found the tone of the ending rather jarred with the rest. But not enough to devalue what is otherwise an awesome, near-perfect movie.
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Format: DVD
It's the story that's starting to become quite over-used recently. East meets West, religious meets atheist, white meets brown, in the form of lovers drawn to each other by strong, physical attraction. Sally Potter has to make this cliched scenario damn good and very unique for it to produce anything memorable. She starts off by perfectly casting Joan Allen as 'She', the fragile, ethereal beauty- a successful career woman trapped in a dead marriage to an unfaithful husband. Even better is her choice of 'He', played by Simon Akabarian, a dark-featured handsome who is excellent in his portrayal of the passionate, intelligent, and spiritual Middle Eastern man. Sally Potter wrote and directed this love story brilliantly, highlighting how such people come together- drawn to each other by the mystery of their differences, and yet (as with the cliche punch-line of this type of story) discovering they are essentially looking for the same things and start seeking them in each other. Potter however, saves this from just being another soppy love story shot artistically, by creating a dialogue made up mostly of iambic pentameter (think Shakespeare meets Eminem). So powerfully written, the beauty of the script really is the gem in this film, making it pleasant not only to watch but to hear...

So why the disappointment? The love story central to this film brings to light many themes: identity, race, religion, sexuality, and spirituality and deals with the themes aptly by the power of the writing and its unique style. But then comes the painfully and ridiculously long monologue of She's aunt which rambles on about politics and death.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of Sally Potter's earlier films, but this one didn't work for me, I'm afraid. Here are some of the reasons:

1) I couldn't catch what the actors were saying half the time, the articulation was so unclear - this was a big problem. I could have done with subtitles but none were available on this DVD. It's tiring watching a film when you are straining to catch what is being said. And the script is important in this film - it's a dialogue film not an action film.

2) I found the fact that it is in Shakespearian rhyming blank verse was a distraction. Because it's so rare nowadays, you can't stop noticing it. And in order to fit the metre, the dialogue sometimes has to be a bit archaic or stilted. Even Shakespeare sometimes uses prose or non-rhyming verse.

3) It's just so damn intellectual. Even cooks in a restaurant kitchen are having a debate about god (in poetry of course). Some of the dialogues and monologues drag on a bit (the deathbed speech by the old mother is an example). The two lovers spend most of their time in bed debating and talking (presumably they also make love, but that is only inferred). I failed to get a sense of real passion between them, their relationship was so intellectual, like a debating society.

4) There are big implausibilities in the story. First of all, why do the married couple at the heart of the story not simply get divorced? They have no kids, and divorce is no stigma nowadays. Maybe the answer was in one of the dialogues which I failed to catch.
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From the first this film offers surprises, from the floating dust moats that we gradually realise the cleaner (the terrific Shirley Henderson) has raised from the bed of the married couple whose relationship is in crisis. Later we are invited to see the world differently through glasses of water, though different kinds of camera, in different lights in different places, from a holiday in Cuba to hospital ward, from a board room to a teenager's clothes shop ... And then there's the script, which is all in verse, making us listen to every word. It all sounds terribly intellectual when described like this but the film is fundamentally about real and deep relationships between people, and what gets in the way of those relationships. Do we really see each other? Do we listen to each other? Searing performances all round, though the one that always gets me is Sheila Hancock's as the heroine's dying Aunt. This is film of powerful emotion of a kind you don't find in many places.
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