The House of Yes (1997)

Film and Plot Synopsis

Based on the infamous play by Wendy MacLeod, The House of Yes is the tale of the dysfunctional Pascal family over the course of one Thanksgiving holiday. The elder brother Marty returns home for the first time in a couple of years with his new fiancée, Lesly, a woman his family is unaware of. Lesly’s presence in the home, much like a hurricane that rages outside, causes much damage. Marty’s younger brother, Anthony, becomes infatuated with the new woman while Marty’s twin sister, Jackie-O, seems strangely jealous of her brother’s intended. However, as the hurricane rages, family secrets will be revealed resulting in tragic circumstances.

‘The House of Yes’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
The House of Yes (1997)It’s the day before Thanksgiving in 1983. Georgetown college student Marty Pascal (Josh Hamilton) brings his fiancée, Lesly (Tori Spelling), to his family’s home in McLean, Virginia. The Pascal family is unaware of Marty’s relationship with Lesly, let alone that they are engaged. The family is only aware that Marty is bringing a guest for the holiday. Marty is nervous about the introductions as his family is a little strange and has a mysterious past. Marty’s family is made up of Marty’s mother, Mrs. Pascal (Geneviève Bujold), his younger brother Anthony (Freddie Prinze Jr.), and his twin sister whom everyone calls “Jackie-O” (Parker Posey). Jackie-O has had a strange obsession with Jackie Kennedy and the Kennedy assassination since she was a little girl (Rachel Leigh Cook).

Marty and Lesly arrive at night just as a hurricane is hitting. Marty’s mother is disturbed that he has brought Lesly and concerned how it will affect Jackie-O. Jackie-O has recently been released from psychiatric hospital after an unsuccessful suicide attempt. Jackie-O is ecstatic to see her brother until she learns that he is engaged. Jackie-O becomes obsessive about Marty and politely encourages Lesly to leave. Mrs. Pascal tries to explain away Jackie-O’s behavior by telling Lesly that Jackie-O and Marty have been nearly inseparable since they were born and even shares that Jackie-O was even holding Marty’s infant penis as they were born.

Jackie-O exhibits many signs of mental illness throughout the evening. It is implied that she has some form of personality disorder that manifests itself in the form of mood swings and an inability to cope with change. Mrs. Pascal constantly checks with Anthony to make sure that Jackie-O has had her medication. Part of Jackie-O’s mental illness appears to manifest itself in her pretending to be Jackie Kennedy in hair style and dress. Anthony and Mrs. Pascal constantly act to protect Jackie-O from acting out, vaguely referring to a prior incident.

As the storm hits, the power in the house is knocked out and everyone moves around with candles. After meeting Lesly, Anthony becomes obsessed with the new woman and informs Jackie-O that he is in love with her. Jackie-O encourages his pursuit of a relationship with Lesly despite their brother’s engagement to the young woman. Initially, Lesly is oblivious to the strange antics being displayed by everyone. However, she eventually begins to become suspicious. Jackie-O tries to grill Lesly about her sexual relationship with Marty, however, Lesly refuses to tell her anything. Jackie-O also hints at a former girlfriend of Marty’s who lives nearby and speculates that she foresees a possible reunion between the former couple. As it gets late, Lesly goes to bed. However, Marty informs her that he will stay up awhile to spend time with Jackie-O.

Pennsylvania’s just this state that’s in your way when you’re trying to get someplace else. “Jackie-O” Pascal (Parker Posey)

During the night, Marty and Jackie-O discuss their prior relationship. It is revealed that Jackie-O is the former girlfriend that she was referring to earlier with Lesly. Jackie-O coerces Marty into playing their favorite childhood “game,” a re-enactment of the JFK assassination with Marty as JFK and Jackie-O playing both Jackie Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald. The siblings enjoy the game as it reminds them of their first sexual encounter together when they were only fourteen. Jackie-O and Marty play the game, and after she “shoots” Marty, Jackie-O runs over to cradle her brother in her arms. Jackie-O begins to kiss Marty and the two siblings begin to have sex.

Meanwhile, Anthony enters Lesly’s bedroom upstairs and confesses his love for her. Lesly rejects his awkward advances. Anthony informs Lesly of the incestuous relationship between Jackie-O and Marty. Lesly refuses to believe Anthony’s story and goes downstairs to find Marty and finds him having sex with Jackie-O. Dazed, Lesly returns to her room and willingly accepts Anthony’s affections and has sex with him. Mrs. Pascal is aware of all.

The next morning, Mrs. Pascal tries to make Lesly leave the house by herself. Lesly insists on staying and leaving with Marty. Mrs. Pascal threatens to expose her liaison with Anthony if she doesn’t leave. Lesly goes downstairs to confront Marty and the rest of the family about the events of the previous night. Mrs. Pascal coerces Anthony into telling Marty that he had sex with Lesly the night before. Lesly informs Marty that she walked in on him and Jackie-O during the night. Marty decides that he and Lesly are going to leave.
Jackie-O searches the house in a panic for the gun that Mrs. Pascal ordered Marty to hide. She finds it in the bathroom. She also flushes Marty’s car keys down the toilet. Jackie-O returns to the living room where Lesly confronts her about her mental illness. Lesly leaves to collect her and Marty’s suitcases so that they can leave. Jackie-O pulls the gun and asks Marty to play their game one last time. She agrees to let them leave afterward. Anthony rushes out of the room to retrieve Jackie-O’s medication, realizing that she has having a psychotic break. Marty agrees to play the game. In tears, Jackie-O shoots and kills her brother. After the shooting, Lesly runs screaming from the house.

In a final voice over, Jackie-O explains that Marty was buried in the backyard “next to Daddy.”

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Our Rating

Miramax Films released The House of Yes on October 10, 1997. Mark Waters directed the film starring Parker Posey, Josh Hamilton, and Tori Spelling.

User Rating: 1.92 ( 5 votes)
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