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Featured DVD Review: House of Yes

June 3rd, 2012

House of Yes - Buy from Amazon

House of Yes was an odd film, even for an Indie. It was writer / director Mark Waters' first film, but he had an impressive cast, including Parker Posey at the height of her Indie Cred. It opened with a strong per theater average, but couldn't maintain it, as it expanded. Was it too odd to survive even on the art house circuit? Or should it have found a wider audience?

The Movie

The film begins with a shot-by-shot comparison of a tour Jackie Kennedy gave of the White House while she was First Lady and a home movie made by Jackie-O Pascal shot with her twin brother, Marty, in 1971. It starts out rather precise, but as it continues, Jackie gets a little manic.

Flash forward to 1983, and the now adult Jackie and her younger brother, Anthony, are preparing the family home for an incoming hurricane. The family, Jackie, Anthony, and their mother, are also preparing for the return of Marty, who is coming home for Thanksgiving. And, Marty is bringing a friend, which is concerning to all, because he's never really had a friend before. This includes Marty. Marty isn't just bringing a friend, he's bringing his fiancee, Lesly. She has no idea what she's in for.

Lesly does get an early taste of the level of crazy in that house when Marty's mother talks to her in in private. She emphasizes to Lesly that Marty and Jackie have a special connection. Before the evening is over, we learn just what kind of connection they have. (On a side note, this is the third film in a row that I've reviewed that deals with incest. What are the odds?) We also learn a bit more about the root of the family's problems. It's Marty's dream to leave the family and live some kind of normal life, but the damage caused by this dysfunctional a family might be too much to survive.

The first thing you need to know about this movie is that it is based on a play, and adapting plays to the big screen can be surprisingly tricky. This film does fall for the biggest obstacle, namely it feels very confined. You can't have a lot of movement on a stage, and there's very little movement in this film. Most scenes are just two or more of the characters talking. Fortunately, the dialogue is very sharp and the actors, especially Parker Posey, give the words an added edge. Unfortunately, the characters themselves are merely collections of strange idiosyncrasies, at best, and the level of crazy overtakes any real character they might have. It makes it hard to connect emotionally with the characters, which in turn makes it hard to care about their problems. Additionally, scenes don't always flow from one to another giving the film a disjointed feeling. The end result is a movie that is an impressive display of acting, but there's not enough emotional depth there. It's worth watching, but there's not a lot of replay value.

The Extras

Like the other Echo Bridge release, this DVD is a featureless disc selling for just $7.

The Verdict

If you are looking for strong acting, House of Yes delivers and Parker Posey's performance alone is enough to warrant at least a rental. However, there are enough flaws that it limits replay value. However, for just $7, the DVD is good value.

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Filed under: Video Review, The House of Yes