Yes Or No?
Touted as the first Thai lesbian film, "Yes or No" can be considered an important film socially. Presumably, director Sarasawadee Wongsompetch was motivated very vividly by an indignation at the anti-tomboy prejudice that exists in Thai society, as in others, as we know. It’s disappointing that this film is a saccharine and simple story whose pleasure is seemingly aimed at a juvenile audience more titillated by gossip and melodrama than one invested in a sophisticated portrayal of young love and its afflictions. Still, the pettiness and machinations, as well as the conflicted-ness and overcoming of unthinking bias portrayed is real, and perhaps it is dealt with appropriately as a sometimes silly college soap opera of sorts.
The drama begins when rather prissy college student Pie asks for a room re-assignment in order to avoid a lesbian roommate. Much to her dismay, her new roommate is a girl who dresses as a boy. Implausibly but comically, the official to which she subsequently complains, is a butch dyke who lays down the law. Amicable and accommodating though she may be, new roommate Kim falls well outside the firm boundaries Pie has in regards to whom she will associate. And so, Pie creates a ludicrous physical boundary- a line of tape on the floor of their dorm room- to emphasize her desire to avoid contact with Kim. Pie is annoyingly petulant and demanding, while Kim is admirably cool and understanding; she even has the freeness and good humor to flash her breasts when Pie insists on evidence that she is indeed a female and later shares her clandestine cooking with Pie.
Pie’s gradually dissolving hostility could be more finely wrought, but this is a comedic drama that relies on stock characters and silly scenarios to win over those susceptible to such things. And one could be susceptible. Kim, after all, may be gratingly earnest, but there is also a quiet confidence about her identity that is charming. Regardless, it is hard to imagine the film’s adult audience. It has a serious and seriously recycled (though still relevant) message about acceptance, and should be taken as a bouncy, coming of age story for those who can appreciate its lightness and its well-meaning lesson without demanding much else.
This article is part of our "19th Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival" series. Want to read more?
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