Now that it’s out there, if you are going feel uncomfortable with any of this, don’t say I didn’t warn you. But if you’re expecting this to be some sort of trashy movie about two girls, that’s not what Yes or No is at all. This movie is just a run of the mill romantic comedy that happens to tell the love story between two girls, and that’s exactly what makes this realistic. Just as any girl and any boy can fall in love, so can two girls, and that’s what Yes or No is all about. If Yes or No were about a guy and a girl, this would be a cliché rampant affair, and I find that quality of the movie really special. Yes or No treats the lesbian relationship casually, while also addressing some of the societal issues as lightly as possible without losing its gravity. It’s refreshing to see theatrical works like this, because it gives a sense of normalcy to what is viewed as “abnormal.” I don’t want to watch a rom-com or even a flat out romantic movie to fixate on the two main characters turning out to be lesbian; I want to treat them as people with feelings.
Pie (Sucharat “Aom” Manaying) is excited for her first day back to school (college/university) because she finally moved out of a dorm with a person she didn’t like. Pie is a chippy kind of girl, and she sets up a grand welcome for her new roommate—who turns out to be a “tom” (or “tomboy”) named Kim (Supanart “Tina” Jitalleela). Pie initially is cold to Kim because she’s a tomboy; Pie’s mother has always raised her conservatively, so she feels uncomfortable with Kim. One could even say that she holds some prejudice over Kim. As a result of her discomfort, Pie decides to split the room in half such that she will rarely interact with Kim—and she splits it quite literally. Pie grabs red duct-tape and draws the border that is never to be crossed by either of them.
School starts, and they go on their separate ways. Kim is an agricultural student (her dad owns a ranch/farm) and Pie studies fisheries/aquatic sciences. On the first day of class, Pie’s friend, Jane (Arisara Tongborisuth) is in tears from her recent break-up, and comforted by Kim (she gives her a handkerchief . Jane immediately starts to crush on Kim, and when Pie find out, she’s a bit perturbed, though she comes off as indifferent. Kim keeps getting “pushed around” by Pie, but it’s clear that Kim likes Pie from the get go, as Kim goes out of her way to help and take care of Pie. Kim cooks for her, helps her with stuff while she isn’t looking (even crossing the line to the forbidden side), and is all around caring, despite Pie’s coldness towards Kim.
Jane continues to pursue Kim, coming over to spend time with her. Pie starts to get annoyed and possibly a bit jealous as her feelings (unbeknownst to her rational side) grow for Kim as well the more time she spends with Kim.
…And I’ll stop there because you can just watch it. I even made it easy and embedded the movie (with English subtitles):[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GdIvTeSAU4]
(You can even watch the sequel, ingeniously titled Yes or No 2, here.)
Like I mentioned earlier, the key to this movie is really how much it doesn’t look “abnormal.” In fact, if you replaced Kim or Pie with a guy, I don’t think anyone would bat an eye (except for the living together at school part). Kim and Pie just seem like two normal girls in a pretty normal world who just so happen to like each other. The romance is so natural that you feel like something like this can happen everyday—and it does. The only problem is that we (as in society) refuse to let it be that way. It’s not like Pie and Kim are immune to social stigmas in this movie, but they are second fiddle in the story until Pie’s Mom and “Boyfriend” (Pie never considered him to be her boyfriend) come into play.
However, there is a point at which the whole natural relationship thing starts to border on unnatural, which is when Jane basically goes crazy trying to get Kim to like her. It just seems far too convenient that two girls that initially thought they were straight would immediately start liking the same girl at the same time. Moreover, I feel like the character development for Jane is pretty much non-existant. She’s a mere caricature amidst the slight complexities of Pie and Kim. Pie especially goes through a hard time trying to sort her feelings for Kim and what she used to think was natural and common. She has to face the dated and conservative views of her mother and “boyfriend” and is practically forced to choose between her mother and her love for Kim.
Though the story, like any rom-com, is tied into a nice pretty bow in the end, it’s nice to see that non-traditional relationships can be treated the same as any heterosexual pairing. It’s a breath of fresh air, even if the outcome is a bit childish and over-simplified.
Have you seen Yes or No? Did you watch it after I went ahead and embedded it for all of you? (You better have…LOL.) Let me know your opinions of the movie and the representations of homosexuals in Asian media. I’d love to hear your comments!
As a side note, please visit this site’s tumblr for more frequent updates on pretty much anything I would talk about here in smaller bursts. I even do some more Op-ed style pieces, so check it out ^__^.