Yes (Sally Potter). 95 minutes. Opens Friday (July 22). For venues and times, see Movies, page 80. Rating: NN
Writer/director Sally Potter showed guts calling her film Yes , a title that easily lends itself to the perfect negative review. Ah, but fear isn't Potter's problem. Remember, this is the woman who tackled Virginia Woolf's controversial Orlando. Her latest film is a love story between Irish-American woman She ( Joan Allen ) and Middle-Eastern man He ( Simon Abkarian ) that Potter hopes will combat post-9/11 hatred. Oh, and the dialogue is written entirely in iambic pentameter.
That's right. Every word is spoken in jarring verse - for example, Allen to her god-daughter: "You're not fat. Don't waste another breath of yours on that." As for the romance, the rhyming device makes it sound like we're listening to a seduction by Dr. Seuss, so you can imagine how distracting it is in a discussion about politics.
To top it off, Potter's included music-video-type footage of dancing in Cuba, a dying communist aunt and a housekeeper (scene-stealer Shirley Henderson ) who talks to the audience about germs. And what the heck does all that have to do with Sam Neill playing air guitar?
In an age of cookie-cutter directors, applaud Potter's bravery and appreciate her need to make a statement. Now, if she could only remember how to make a good movie...