Yellow (Short Film)

11 Nov

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Smith’s Verdict: ***1/2

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

I remember a time back in high school when I realized how much I loved my best female friend and I couldn’t deny it anymore. When I found this out, I immediately turned to my best male buddy and told him how I felt. Then I asked for advice, hoping he would say that telling her would be the right move to make. What was his response? Don’t tell her.

I asked why. He said it was because she and I were great friends since grade school and if she didn’t feel the same way about me, it would make things very awkward and lead to our separation. That wasn’t something I wanted, so I let it be for a while. But as time went on, I told some other people (my parents, my sister, and some other peers) how I felt about her. Some said I should go for it; others weren’t so helpful and even said some discourteous comments that I probably shouldn’t reveal here.

I eventually did tell her, one day during our senior year. Of course, she said she only saw us as “just friends” and didn’t see this relationship going any further than that. I asked her to forget what I said; she agreed…but things weren’t the same between us at all. We stopped having lunch together, she stopped answering my phone calls, and we spent very little time together, until eventually we drifted apart.

Telling a close friend of the opposite sex you love them isn’t an easy decision to make, whether you’re in high school or not. Maybe that’s why I admired Jasmine Greer’s film, titled “Yellow,” as much as I did—because it knows that. It’s a 13-minute short about an earnest young man named Max (played with convincing sincerity by Brian Roberson) who spends a few days trying to convince himself that “today’s the day” to tell his best female friend the truth: that he loves her. He’s unsure about what would happen and turns to those around him for advice. But no one is fit to offer help—not his weird roommate (Jason Willey, hilarious) who uses a “Temple of Doom” reference as a metaphor for how it’ll turn out (badly), and definitely not his oblivious family (his mother played by Jeri Shire, his grandfather played by Tony Gschwend, and his uncle played by Alan Rackley) who have little to give other than rude remarks. His older sister (Krystal Kaminar) is the only sane one in the family, but by the time he calls her, he’s lost his confidence yet again to listen to new advice.

“Today’s the day,” Max keeps telling himself as he builds up confidence before losing it. Is it “the day?” Max knows he won’t know for sure unless he just lets it out, but if he does let it out, will it be the beginning of something more for him and this girl or will it be the end of a solid friendship? Questions like this run through Max’s mind as he expresses in thought (and through voiceover) his nervousness. He’s so nervous that he doesn’t even know what color tie he should wear at work—black or yellow?

Midway through “Yellow” is my favorite scene in the short, and it involves Max’s encounter with a friendly, attractive co-worker (Brittany Reed) in an elevator at work. Her action, in a way, mirrors Max’s goal. His reaction imagines the anxiety and confusion for the reaction for that goal. It’s a well-written, suitably awkward moment that feels true and is an effective prelude to the film’s final scene.

I don’t want to make “Yellow” sound so wholesome and melodramatic that no one would be interested in seeing it, because it is actually very funny. The comedy comes from the situation—the film has a goofy sense of humor, but it also knows how a young man in this setting would talk and behave. The film is fresh and cheerful in that it uses human comedy as it’s found in this situation. It also helps that writer-director Jasmine Greer doesn’t hate her characters—she never condescends to Max, and the side characters are portrayed as suitably weird instead of overly or scornfully so. There’s the semi-annoying slacker-roommate character played by Jason Willey (we all have a friend like him in our lives); Max’s jackass boss played by Scott McEntire who mocks Max’s yellow tie (I love his sarcastic dialogue about if the tie has superpowers); the three family members Max calls for advice are people who just might say the things they say, as they have experienced love long before; and that attractive co-worker, Myra, has her quirks as well.

We don’t see Max’s potential girlfriend until the end of the film, but when we do, it’s hard to question why Max didn’t just decide to give Myra a chance. They have a sweet moment together and surprisingly, the way it’s developed and presented is enough for us to care. You could argue that because the film waited until the end to introduce this girl that Max has been obsessing about throughout the film, it’s hard to care about whether or not their friendship goes further. But somehow it worked for me, and I’ve been trying to figure out why. Maybe it was because she seems much kinder than everyone else in Max’s life, and so it was a relief that there really is a tender moment that Max shares with someone, finally. Oddly enough, these two do feel right together. And so I did find myself wondering whether Max would ultimately tell her how he felt about her or just keep the friendship they share together.

Telling your close friend of the opposite sex you love them is a tough decision to make. It can go one way or another, for better or for worse. I felt that Max’s anxiety was legit and I cared about what would happen for him. That’s how effective “Yellow” was for me. It’s an insightful, well-written, and often very funny short film.

NOTE: The film can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yf77YIC42FM

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