The House of Yes

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The House of Yes Movie Poster Image
Incest is the core of dysfunctional family dramedy.
  • R
  • 1997
  • 85 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Themes of incest, mental illness, parental abandonment, and murder are explored but not resolved by unapologetic characters.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Twin siblings maintain an incestuous relationship over the course of many years. Their mother turns a blind eye to it, and the male twin's fiancée is willing to overlook both the incest itself and the infidelity, possibly because she has sex with her fiancé's younger brother. The younger brother seems sympathetic but ultimately only adds to the dysfunction.

Violence

Blood and brains from the Kennedy assassination are mentioned. Some non-gory archival footage of the assassination is briefly shown. Characters act the assassination out in pantomime, aim a gun, and fire blanks, which then becomes eroticized for them. A gunshot fires off camera.

Sex

Twin siblings maintain an incestuous relationship over the course of many years. They're seen having sex once, with no nudity, from a distance after becoming aroused reenacting the Kennedy assassination. A man has sex with his brother's fiancée; one or two light kisses are shown, and the man's bare chest in bed is seen. "Come" is used as a double entendre a couple of times. Masturbation is mentioned a couple of times. A couple is seen in a bathtub from the chest up. One kissing scene where the couple starts to remove their clothing.

Language

"Penis," "goddamn," "come" as a double entendre once or twice each; "f--k," "f--king" two or three times.

Consumerism

Pepsi mentioned specifically several times. Pepsi cans and partial views of Bacardi labels are prominent in one brief scene.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Young adults have wine, talk about drinking rum and Pepsi in the past, and play a drinking game with rum and Pepsi. One of them is on medication and shouldn't drink alcohol but does anyway. A character apparently suffers an unspecified mental illness, and medication is frequently mentioned; pills are called for several times when she has trouble coping.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the heart of The House of Yes is an incestuous relationship between twins. They're seen once engaging in sex, and the scene eroticizes both the incest itself and the violence of the Kennedy assassination (reenacting it leads to sex). Their mother turns a blind eye to their flirtatious and suggestive behavior. Parental abandonment, murder, and mental illness are tied together with the incest and overall extreme dysfunction, and the movie ends bleakly with an off-camera suggestion of further tragedy. There is profanity, including "f--k," and young adults drink alcohol.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBestPicture1996 March 18, 2015

More like "House of Nooooo...."

I had to read Wendy MacLeod's play for my English class, and was thoroughly intrigued by it, if not just because of the rapid fire dialogue and how the cha... Continue reading

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What's the story?

When Marty (Josh Hamilton) unexpectedly brings a fiancée (Tori Spelling) home for Thanksgiving, his twin sister (Parker Posey), nicknamed Jackie-O for her obsession with the former First Lady, is unable to disguise her jealousy. As Marty and Jackie-O are drawn back into their incestuous relationship, past secrets come to light. Can Jackie-O's fragile mental and emotional state withstand the truth about their past?

Is it any good?

The greatest strength of THE HOUSE OF YES is the acting, with entertaining turns from all the principal cast members (yes, even Tori Spelling). Unfortunately, the screenplay adaptation from a play makes it hard to fully engage with the characters. A lot of dialogue has a play-like feel, as though it was lifted verbatim, and in a film this comes across as stilted and unrealistic despite the actors' talent. Couple that with a distasteful central theme that's not really explored in depth and seems to be there mostly to titillate, and this film doesn't add up to being worth your time.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why movies explore "forbidden" topics such as incest. Are movies an appropriate way to look at such issues? Why, or why not?

  • Do you think Jackie-O is genuinely mentally ill, or is Lesly right in thinking she's just spoiled? How does the movie show you Jackie's feelings and state of mind?

  • The House of Yes is based on a play. Why do you think the filmmaker chose to turn this story into a movie?

Movie details

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