Parenting is one of the toughest experiences of a person’s life. It is a process that has its own challenges, and if done right, provides moments of bliss. Having said that, it varies from person to person, but the end goal remains the same — a relationship without judgment and prejudices. However, sometimes children do feel cornered as they are denied their desires, which can just be whimsical fancies.
‘Yes Day’ gives a lesson on parenting while being an enjoyable comedy-drama. Directed by Miguel Arteta, the film is a light-hearted take on the travails of parenting. It is a beautiful journey of a family who tries to revive their relationship by going on a Yes Day — a day where the children aren’t refused anything (barring some ground rules). Let us have a look into the joy and jive of the film. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Yes Day Plot Synopsis
Allison (Jennifer Garner) and Carlos (Edgar Ramirez) are a happy couple who have developed their relationship based on an exuberance of positivity. Allison spends her youth seeking fun and comes off as a boisterous person. Things change with parenthood. The couple has three children: Katie, Nando, and Ellie. Katie is a young teenager, Nando, a science nerd, and Ellie is the youngest child. Carlos is the fun-loving dad who doesn’t seem to control his children. However, Allison is a stern mother whose control and penchant for saying no become overbearing for the children. Katie and Nando feel that they are being dictated upon by their mother.
To change the scheme of things, the parents decide to go on a “Yes Day” at the behest of the school guidance counselor, Mr. Deacon. It is a day where the children won’t be stopped from doing anything they wish for, but they do have to abide by rules like not asking for something in the future. Excited by this opportunity, the children prepare a list of five activities they can do on Yes Day. Katie makes a deal that if Allison says no to any particular thing, she will be allowed to go to the Fleek Fest with her friends. If the day goes as planned, Allison will accompany Katie to the music fest.
Their journey starts on a fun-filled note as the parents prepare themselves for all the activities their children have planned. They venture out to Magic Mountain, where situations start to take a negative turn. Allison accidentally checks Katie’s phone, which becomes the bone of contention between the mother and daughter. In a bid to make things right, the situation grows out of control, and the children are separated from their parents. What follows is a beautiful journey of reconciliation that brings the family back together.
Yes Day Ending: Does the Yes Day Serve Its Purpose?
Yes, the day does indeed serve its purpose. Allison decides to win a gorilla doll in a game so that she can give it to Katie. The rift between the mother-daughter duo widens at the Magic Mountain, and Allison tries to bridge the gap. She believes that the gift will remind Katie of her childhood and initiate a change of heart. Allison gets embroiled in a fisticuff in the game that lands Carlos and her in jail. The kids leave with Katie’s friends while the parents are still inside the police station.
Nando and Ellie throw a nerd party in their house, where things quickly spiral out of control. Carlos heads towards their home and displays his stern disposition, which he doesn’t seem to tap into throughout the film. Essentially, the Yes Day ends with the children getting close to their parents. The notions they had about their parents are changed drastically. Nando initially feels like his father cannot have a stern attitude, but the way Carlos handles Nando’s mess changes the boy’s thoughts. Carlos gives a glimpse of his other side, showing he can be a disciplinarian with the best intentions.
Katie finally accepts that her mother is right about the music fest when her friends leave her and is subjected to bullying. She is on the verge of breaking down, but Allison finds her. Allison defies the odds of the crowded place and stage fright to reach out to Katie. Her stern attitude makes way for a tender and sweet moment wherein Katie realizes her mother’s true intention. Essentially, the Yes Day helps the children understand their parents better. Moreover, Carlos and Allison bond together over parenting, which is essentially teamwork. In a moment of doubt, Carlos decides to back out, but he chooses to be with his children, indicating his desire to be a loving parent.
Why Do the Children Leave Without Their Parents?
After their fallout, Katie feels that Yes Day is a garb to establish control over her life. She thinks that by letting the children do what they wish for, the parents will perhaps use it as leverage to control them. Still, Nando and Ellie refuse to believe Katie’s hypotheses. Katie has an unflinching desire to visit the fest with her friends, which her mother has refused to allow. Like most adolescents, Katie feels her freedom is being stifled and, upon sensing the perfect opportunity, persuades her siblings to come along with her friends. Moreover, Allison reads Katie’s messages which comes out as snooping. Nando and Ellie are easily influenced by Katie’s persuasion as they both want to complete their fifth and final activity of the day.
Katie doesn’t want her mother to accompany her because she wants to enjoy her moment without Allison’s influence. A sense of individuality comes over Katie, which Carlos rightfully identifies. Still, Allison can’t suppress her motherly instincts, as she knows what is best for her child. ‘Yes Day’ deals with the issues of adolescence in a heartfelt manner without delving too much into the characters’ psyche. The narrative crisis induces a circumstance wherein the children feel the need for their parents and their guidance. Essentially, the feeling of being controlled is displaced by the need for a guiding light.
Read More: Is Yes Day Based on a True Story?