This review was originally published on Film Threat (October 21, 2018).
Sarah Deakins’ beautiful, moving and thought-provoking short film, Yellow, stays with you long after the credits have rolled. Her carefully crafted narrative follows ten colorful characters on their individually life-changing journeys during one fateful afternoon at an art museum. In a time when we are all overwhelmed by an abundance of distractions and worries, this film reminds us to pause for a moment, take a closer look, soak it all in, and allow ourselves to feel…something.
A tapestry of awakenings weaves together a collection of stories charged with illuminating discoveries, newly found self-awareness, shocking disclosures, and uplifting revelations. Most of the characters’ pivotal realizations occur while gazing upon a mysterious yellow painting that is intentionally hidden from the audience. All we can see is the sunshiny glow it casts on the eclectic spectators’ faces and imagines what kind of artwork could move them all so profoundly.
“…ten colorful characters on their individually life-changing journeys…at an art museum.”
The vast array of brilliantly portrayed characters strikes a sympathetic and relatable chord with viewers. A selfie-taking millennial student (Kacey Rohl) learns the magic that exists in the real world once the wise and attentive security guard (Adrian Holmes) instructs her to put away her phone. Now, she’s at a loss and doesn’t even know how to look at the art around her. Nearby a 40-something woman (Stephanie Belding) anxiously awaits her tardy blind date’s (Michael Shanks) arrival. She shares her father’s advice with the student, “Just when you think you’ve spent enough time studying the piece, look a little longer.”
We could all spend more time taking a closer look at our lives, ourselves, and the ones we love. As the student examines artwork, the remaining characters are simultaneously studying their options in life. Ryan Robbins delivers a mesmerizing and Leo Award-winning performance as a conflicted Irish poet wrestling with his feelings for the free-spirited writer (Deakins) he’s falling in love with. A gentle ghost (Mylène Dinh-Robic) encourages him to be honest with her before it is too late. Meanwhile, a married couple’s (Benjamin Ayres and Kyra Zagorsky) relationship is rattled when they meet with a pregnant woman (Alanis Peart).
“…fills viewers with hope and leaves us on an uplifting, albeit cliffhanging note.”
As the film concludes, the sage narrator inspiringly observes, “Everyone has poetry in their soul. It just has to be quiet enough for you to hear it.” Yellow fills viewers with hope and leaves us on an uplifting, albeit cliffhanging note. The end is merely the beginning, and we can only wonder how their stories turn out.
Yellow (2018) Written and directed by Sarah Deakins. Starring Ryan Robbins, Sarah Deakins, Mylene Dinh-Robic, Benjamin Ayres, Adrian Holmes, Kacey Rohl, Stephanie Belding, Kyra Zagorsky, and Michael Shanks. Yellow premiered and won an audience award at Dances with Films 2018.
9.5 out of 10 stars
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