Sunday, June 23, 2019

Yes (2019) Dances With Films 2019

One time child star Patrick Nolan has retreated to a house in Brooklyn where he gets drunk and teaches a long line of not very good aspiring actors. Discovering Jeremiah  in his niece's high school production of Romero and Juliet he offers to teach him how to be better. However Patrick's past misdeeds come calling.

YES is a film I want to say "I don't know" to. An off kilter character study of a troubled man, the film missteps tonally from about five minutes in and then never recovers. The film opens with Patrick being escorted from a building to be hounded by the press about allegations of sexual misconduct. It's a serious moment that puts us on edge. Unfortunately it is followed by a funny sequence of Patrick's acting students. It feels all wrong. It doesn't get better when we have some humorous sequences of Patrick going to the play followed by some raw emotional sequences where he kind of bleeds out.  I felt adrift and unsure of what I was supposed to think and feel. Worst of all Patrick kind of grossed me out.

I'm not sure if the filmmakers really know what they were going for either since there are a couple of other times, say when Jerimiah's mom screams at him about how evil Patrick is, where something seems to be missing. While I understand the why and how of the explosion, and while there is information given to us later in the film that put it into context, that sequence feels adrift at the moment where it is placed. We don't know at the moment it happens how we got there. It, and other sequences are signs that the filmmakers know their story and material perfectly but can't deduce the correct way to resent it for maximum effect.

The result is a film that left me feeling unsure of the film, and kind of skeeved out and wanting to take a shower for all the wrong reasons.

A noble miss.

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