Well, yes & no
Further to my recent musing on the topic of ‘Yes’, by Sally Potter, here is a review that’s been doing the email rounds. The real author is kindly invited to step forward & take credit …
The latest Sally Potter film, called “Yes,”
Describes a love affair. I must confess
Her other work—“Orlando,” starring Tilda
Swinton, so uptight I could have killed her,
And “The Tango Lesson”—left me numb.
This new film is a little warmer; some
Of the encounters rage and seethe. The scene
Is London, where Joan Allen (hail the queen
Of hauteur) plays an embryologist,
Married, lonely, miserable, and pissed.
She meets a chef (Simon Abkarian), who’s cute,
Mustachioed, intense, and from Beirut.
They stroll beneath the blossom, get the hots,
Nuzzle close, and talk of apricots.
“You can taste her secret with your tongue”:
So says our guy, to show he’s really hung.
And that’s the story. Not much else
He does a writhing dance. She moans and purrs.
Sam Neill, as her husband, stands and drinks
And fails to grasp a single thing she thinks.
By the end, we know what Potter hates:
Bigots, God, and the United States,
And Anglo-Saxon men in suits and ties
Who seem unable to control their flies.
And here’s the hook: I guess it could be worse,
But—brace yourself—the whole damn thing’s in verse.
Rhyming couplets, five-stress lines, the lot:
A Michael Bay production this is not.
“Do make yourself at home. Come; sit by me,
Something to drink? Perhaps you’d like some tea.”
You may get off on this enthralling stuff,
But after half an hour I’d had enough.
I have a secret hunch that Potter knows
Her tale is skimpy; that is why she goes
For multiple dissolves, CCTV,
And endless slo-mo: all the devilry
That smart directors use to fill the time—
Think George Lucas, minus droids, plus rhyme.
I’d love to say I watched this film and cried
At witnessing the cultural divide
That Potter sees as wounding West and East;
I could have squeezed my Raisinets, at least.
As things stand, I came out more
Check out Joan Allen in a running vest,
Sweating those pentameters away—
Than moved by anything it had to say.
“Yes” is brave; I only wish its beauty
Didn’t come with such a sense of duty.
It leaves you looking coldly down your nose
At movies where the people speak in prose.
(Should you want a Potter who will carry
The flag for British movies, bring on Harry.)
So just imagine all the table talk
These coming summer evenings in New York:
“Darling, ‘Yes’ is playing. We could go
And skip the ‘O.C.’ rerun. Shall we?” “No.”