“Yes Day — you have to see it, Warwick,” he said with unbridled enthusiasm. “It is a great family movie that every family should watch!”
His strong recommendation really caught my interest. For one thing, he is married but has no children. Secondly, my friend is a very switched-on, media-savvy guy, who is passionate in his support of fathers and families.
Yes Day, the movie, is based on a bestselling children’s book, published in 2009 by author Amy Krouse Rosenthal. It was released on Netflix, 21 March 2021, so it is pretty fresh.
Let me quote from this Bob Hose review to give you an idea of at least the first part of the plot:
Ever wonder how you ended up being seen as the mean one, the parent who always says no? (I mean beside the fact that you’re loving and watchful and want to protect your kids from the ravages of the world that wants to destroy them!)
OK … yeah. Well, that’s exactly how Allison Torres feels. She used to be the fun one, back when she was younger. Her whole life was about saying yes. Wanna go rock climbing? Allison was first in line. Jump from an airplane? You betcha! Wanna play hooky and take a day at the beach? Yessiree, Bob!
Problem was, once she had kids and saw those little bundles of vulnerable innocence who need, well, a good wrapping of bubble wrap at just about every turn, her whole attitude changed. She had to start offering warnings and saying no all the time.
It’s called parenting!
Of course, that made her the mom whose teen daughter writes a haiku for English class that talks about being held prisoner in a bird cage. She’s the parent whose son creates a movie comparing her to Stalin and Mussolini. She became the enforcer while her husband became the “fun” parent.
But then Allison came upon an appealing idea: a yes day. They’ll pick a day, and for 24 hours she and her husband, Carlos, will have to say yes to everything the kids ask for. And the only exceptions will be obvious ones, like doing something illegal or flying to Japan. You know, stuff like that.
Hey, that’ll show those kids what “fun” Allison looks like!
Of course, once she presents the idea and sees the gleam in her three kids’ eyes, Allison starts to sweat. This could end up being more problematic than it seemed, couldn’t it?
Yes. Yes, it could.
The concept of Yes days and kids-in-charge days has come up several times on various YouTube channels. The Yeager family of six children did a “If Kids Were in Charge” video in 2018 which has garnered approximately seven million views. The LaBrant family did a 12-minute video that received over 8 million views.
As they say, “the proof is in the pudding”, so my wife and I sat down to watch Yes Day.
Truthfully, I had a mixed reaction to this movie. It is definitely funny, or perhaps ‘goofy’ would describe it better. You will be guaranteed to laugh at some point. I think younger children would really enjoy watching it. It really is a family movie.
I agree 100% with Jennifer Green’s review from Common Sense Media:
Parents can go along for the ride on this movie, which is sure to entertain younger kids and offer positive lessons for tweens and teens. Like Allison and Carlos, a lot of parents can probably relate to the feeling that they’ve lost their groove since they had kids, or that their kids have no idea who they were before they became parents…
Kids may find the Torres family’s antics hilarious: Carlos’ indigestion post-ice cream binge, a house filled with sudsy water and makeshift water slides, roller coasters, water balloon fights, and parent-free adventures.
But at the end of the yes day, the kids also figure out that they really do want some boundaries… and still ultimately need their parents.
It’s a message parents can get behind, and just in time for older viewers: No sane parent is going to let their new-ish family vehicle fill with soap and water at a car wash just for their kids’ entertainment.
The film seems to be suggesting that a healthier motto for parents and kids alike is “all things in moderation.” Although the film doesn’t take its own advice — going overboard and eschewing any semblance of reality more often than not — it does have worthy themes and entertainment value for families.
So why my mixed reaction? Well at times, the plot is a bit unbelievable. Secondly, it is a relatively low-budget Netflix comedy. It carries a good message that parents saying ‘Yes’ to everything is not necessarily a good idea, in fact it can be disastrous. Equally, it points out the importance of having fun in family relationships — the truth is always in the tension.
However, I was still curious to find out why my culturally savvy young friend was so enthusiastic about the film. I got a moment with him to ask the question.
His answer was short and sharp:
“My wife is nanny to a number of Australian mums and dads who do not know how to say NO! This is a big problem for a lot of parents.
There are whole suburbs of kids who are dietarily malnourished because of all the sugar and carbs they eat and drink all day. These children are not getting any vegetables and very little protein, all because their parents are too afraid to say NO.
This film addresses that dilemma in a very fun way. For this reason, it is very important that both parents and children see this movie and realise that NO is more important than YES for our children’s future. Perhaps more important than ever.”
Don’t get Netflix for the sake of this film, but if you already have it, watch this film with your family and make your own decision. (Some of the YouTube spoofs might make up for not being able to view it).
You might also ask the question of your family: “Why is NO still an important word in the narcissistic world in which we live?”
Yours for Balanced Parenting,