The House of Yes

The House of Yes

Infobox Film
name = The House of Yes

image_size = 165px
imdb_id = 0119324
writer = Wendy MacLeod (play)
Mark Waters
starring =
Parker Posey,
Josh Hamilton,
Freddie Prinze Jr,
Tori Spelling
director = Mark Waters
producer = Robert Berger
editing = Robert Duffy, Spot Welders
distributor = Miramax Films
released = October 10, 1997 (USA)
runtime = 85 min.
language = English
budget =
music = Rolfe Kent
awards = Sundance Grand Jury Prize
tagline = Meet Jackie O. She's elegant, glamorous, and well bred. When you've got it all, you can get away with murder.

"The House of Yes" is a 1997 film starring Parker Posey, Josh Hamilton, Geneviève Bujold, Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Tori Spelling. The movie is based on the play of the same name, which is written by Wendy MacLeod. It was produced by Robert Berger, and was released by Miramax Films on October 10, 1997, in the USA.


On Thanksgiving Day, 1983, NYC student Marty Pascal (Josh Hamilton) is driving his fiancée, Lesly (Tori Spelling), home to his family's Washington D.C. estate to meet them for the first time. Although Lesly is excited at the prospect of meeting her future in-laws, Marty is obviously nervous and hesitant about the impending introduction of his future wife to his family - he has informed them that he is bringing a guest but without any further details.

As a hurricane threatens to hit the Capitol City, Marty's family prepares both for his arrival and for the potentially dangerous storm. Marty's twin sister Jackie (Parker Posey), recently released from a stay in a psychiatric hospital, is ecstatic about his arrival, and is festively applying crosses of tape to the windows in anticipation of the hurricane. She has no idea that a "friend" is accompanying Marty until she is informed moments before their arrival. This causes obvious and immediate distress for Jackie, which is the viewers' first clue toward her potentially volatile state of mental health.

Referred to as "Jackie-O" by her family, Jackie has had a long obsession with the former first lady; during the opening credits, we see Jackie during her childhood, being filmed by Marty (a flashback to their childhood years) as she gives a dramatic tour of the Pascal House - dressed like a young Jackie Kennedy and interspersed with real archived footage of Jacqueline Kennedy's famous 1962 nationally-broadcast White House Tour. Now an adult, Jackie-O still emulates the former first lady in her style of dress and her coiffed, signature hairstyle. The Pascal residence, a grand mansion in the DC area, provides a grand "backdrop" for Jackie's fantasies - it's her own "White House" so to speak, where she can play out her idealized, yet somewhat distorted, version of "Jackie-O." But her unpredictable, brassy behavior is an extreme contrast to the real Mrs. Kennedy's gentle, polite public persona. Also, her morbid fascination with the Kennedy assassination - including owning an exact replica of Jacueline Kennedy's immortalized pink suit and the pillbox hat worn throughout the day of her husband's shooting, complete with ketchup stains - shows that her admiration of the former First Lady has a dark, inappropriate undertone.

Jackie-O lives with her mother and her younger brother Anthony (Freddie Prinze, Jr.). A young, fresh-faced college student, Anthony seems genuinely devoted and admiring of his older sister. Despite his conservative style of dress and cautiously pleasant manner, he comes across as strikingly naive for his age. His curious nature - especially about sex - provokes a strong interest toward Lesly, and Anthony pursues her with playful nervousness, catching her alone off-guard and drilling her candidly with personal questions.

Marty and Lesly seem to be a perfect match as we are introduced to them. Lesly, a middle-class Pennsylvania native with a bubbly, innocent personality, is initially totally oblivious to the tumultuous nature of her future husband's family. It is soon clear, however, that Marty is in love with Leslie's "normalcy" and their engagement is a way for Marty to break from his family mold. While he initially seems to be the "sensible child" of the family - and much more socially adjusted and adept - it soon becomes apparent that Marty left home to escape a dark and dirty secret; and by returning home, that secret threatens to interrupt his newly found livelihood.

The matriarch of the family, Mrs. Pascal (Geneviève Bujold) is ecstatic to see her visiting son. She is also, like Anthony, very guarding and defensive of her daughter Jackie, and immediately suspicious and guarded against her future daughter-in-law Lesly. Mrs. Pascal is single - her husband having abandoned the family many years prior - although the circumstances of Mr Pascal's permanent absence are not made clear to the viewer. Mrs. Pascal comes across as a domineering mother, with a stern yet subdued manner; yet it becomes immediately clear that she, like her daughter, is also mentally disturbed to some degree. While she seems competent to some degree in her management of the household, she also has a knack for making awkward and inappropriate comments, and a tendency to become flustered during menial tasks. Her eccentricity seems shaped by her wealthy yet spinster-like existence, contained by the walls of her magnificent house and her needy, mentally unstable daughter Jackie.

As the hurricane outside intensifies, Marty (who was hoping to make a quick escape) and Lesly become stranded in the house until the storm lets up. After being confronted with her beloved twin's surprise fiancee, Jackie-O comes close to a melt-down at her bathroom sink, yet suddenly gains her composure and surprises Lesly, who has retreated to the guest room to shower and freshen up. Jackie playfully interrogates Lesly about her love life with Marty, going so far as to ask for graphic details about their sexual escapades. Jackie-O informs Lesly of a nearby former girlfriend of Marty's, with whom he shared an intense affair in his youth. Toying with Lesly's innocent nature, Jackie tries to make Lesly feel threatened by a potential rival, hinting that there might be a "reunion" between the two former lovers.

After leaving Lesley, Jackie-O approaches Marty, and the viewer becomes aware that Marty's lover was in fact Jackie-O, to whom he lost his virginity and with whom he had an intense sexual relationship when the two were young. Jackie-O first bullies and then subtly coerces Marty into playing their favorite childhood "game," a re-enactment of the JFK assassination, which involves Marty dressing up in a suit and then waving to a fictional crowd before Jackie-O aims a revolver at his head and fires - a game that resulted in the initial rift between Marty and his family when Jackie-O decided to play it with live rounds and shot Marty in the abdomen. Jackie-O and Marty play the game, after which she mounts him and the two have sex. Lesley walks in on the scene and, horrified, locks herself in her bedroom. She is visited by Anthony, who, taking advantage of her vulnerable state, convinces her that he is an insecure virgin. Lesley has sex with Anthony, after which she learns that he is in fact an experienced womanizer who convinces naive girls that he is a virgin so that they'll have sex with him.

In the morning, Lesley confronts the family about the events of the night before. Jackie-O announces that she intends on keeping Marty a prisoner in the home so that he can be her sex slave; during the course of Jackie-O's speech, she reveals that the siblings' mother murdered their father on the day of the JFK assassination so that their lives could mirror that of the "perfect" Kennedys. Marty tries to reason with his sister, claiming that their father simply chose the day of Kennedy's death to abandon them, and that he may still be alive somewhere. Ultimately, Jackie-O pulls a loaded gun on Lesley, and threatens to murder her if Marty won't play "JFK" with her. Marty agrees, sits down in a chair, and waves; Jackie-O aims the gun at his head and blows his brains out, prompting Lesley to run screaming from the home.

In an epilogue, the viewer sees a clip from Pascal family home movies, in which a teenage Jackie-O, dressed in a pink suit, gives a tour of the Pascal home while Marty videotapes her. At the end of the tape, Marty initiates the first incestuous sexual encounter between the siblings, demonstrating that he was ultimately responsible for Jackie-O's mental state and her obsession with him.


* Parker Posey - "Jackie-O" Pascal
* Josh Hamilton - Marty Pascal
* Tori Spelling - Lesly
* Freddie Prinze Jr. - Anthony Pascal
* Geneviève Bujold - Mrs. Pascal
* Rachael Leigh Cook - Young "Jackie-O"
* David Love - Voice of young Marty

External links

*imdb title | id = 0119324 | title = The House of Yes

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