Yes, Yes packs many flaws in a brief period of time, but once it settles in and focuses on Patrick and Jeremiah, it becomes fascinating. For starters, Realbuto and Gould brilliantly play off each other and ably sell the trauma, anger, hurt, and intensity their respective characters go through. Realbuto nails Patrick’s sardonic tone when he tells one of his students to find a new dream. Jeremiah starts timid, but by the end, he is the most confident person around, getting even Patrick to believe one fiction after another. Gould plays the transition with just the right amount of anguish, and gleeful abandon to be fascinating.
Happily, Margolies does not allow this to feel like a play, as his camera seldom stops moving. It adds to the intense “therapy session” Patrick calls acting lessons. The visualizations of the mind game Patrick has Jeremiah play are also quite fun, ably breaking up the largely one-setting locale.
“…Realbuto and Gould brilliantly play off each other…”
But, as mentioned earlier, there are some bumps even here, which prevent Yes from having its intended impact. Don’t misconstrue, the final 10-minutes are the best, but not everything gels coherently. Jeremiah spins Patrick a yarn, which may or may not be real, about how his father left when he was 5. I will not spoil the reason, but it involves the character’s 2-year-old sister, and it does not work. While adults can recall memories from as young as three, they can be the fuzziest and elusive. Trauma further compounds this, moving that age range between 5 and 7.
See, this is supposed to be the root of Jeremiah’s anger and resentment at life. But, he was so young, that it is tough to believe he’d remember it, much less hold onto such bitter feelings for some 11 or 12 years. Aging the characters up to let’s say, 8 and 5, or 10 and 7, would have made it more believable. While this does absolutely impede the movie’s emotional punch, it does not render it completely inert.
Look, Bojack Horseman is over, and if you are jonesing for something in that same vein, Yes fits the bill. While it is not as perfect as that Netflix show, it is engaging, mostly because Realbuto and Gould are so good. They vividly bring their characters’ pain and anguish to life, all while making the audience question if what they say is real or make-believe. Discovering their ultimate fates makes one wistful, in both a good and bad way. Add on the impressive directing and Yes proves to be worth its near 2-hour running time. It is just too bad that the story structure is not up to par with the acting or directing.
"…Bojack Horseman is over, and if you are jonesing for something in that same vein, Yes fits the bill."