YEARDLEY is quite possibly one of the most honest looks at today’s modern man and marriage to hit the silver screen. YEARDLEY is raw and unflinching in how it portrays it’s titular character, Jeff Yeardley (played by Jesse Bernstein, someone that I think we should all be on the lookout for in the future). The director Heath C. Michaels paints a dystopic version of the American dream and how one ethical misstep can shatter every facet of a person.
The story revolves around Jeff Yeardley, a man who was just fired from both his job and his family for having an illicit affair with a co-worker. His wife takes their kid with her, and Jeff is left to deal with the ramifications of what he is done. We see with Jeff trying to get a new job, deal with divorce lawyers, and maintain a relationship with his son all while trying to keep a stay sane. He is kicked while he is down by having to sell almost all his vanity possessions just to live. His visitations with his son are accompanied by a court appointed watchdog, and his falls prey to a ploy by two women at his new job who make a bet on who will sleep with him first. No matter how much Jeff tries to fix his life, his downward spiral continues. The storyline revolving around the two girls who want to sleep with Jeff seems to be a bit excessive, but I can see that it is just the screenwriter wanting to play Jeff’s vices against him. We know that it was an affair that ruined his life and career, so he wanted us to see Jeff fight against those urges again, and show what would happen if the aggressor came from the outside. Can Jeff resist temptation again knowing that it could cost him his wife and child, and even his new job again? What other consequences would there be to the young girls’ ploy?
While the cinematography was a little uneven in a few scenes, with some shots looking more “camcorder-y” than others, overall this film looks great. The editing is tight and well done from scene to scene (bonus points go to the great shots of the flies at the end). There is at least one continuity error that I spotted (there is a shot showing his TV where it was AFTER he had sold it), but other that the production design is solid. The audio is crisp and clear, with even the few outdoor scenes sounding slick and professional.
The acting is superb all around. Even the little guy who plays Jeff’s son Chase Yeardley (Garrett Geoghegan) does a fantastic job of being the kid stuck in the middle of a broken home. He deals with new men in his mother’s life, tries to deal with his father’s mood swings, and being taken from his home. Jeff’s wife played by Saskia Grace Holmes has naturalistic reactions to most of what’s going on around her. She deals well with the crumbling of her marriage, but seems to get into bed with another guy a little too quick in my opinion.
You really don’t see the end of this movie coming, and it is a really powerful ending. To spoil it here would ruin it. But that being said, track down this flick and watch it if you get the opportunity. You won’t regret it.
FILM SYNOPSIS - Jeff Yeardley (Jesse Bernstein) is a self-absorbed, middle class programmer who loses his wife (Saskia Grace Holmes) and son when his affair with a co-worker is revealed. Jeff struggles to find a new job amid the U.S. economic recession, but the reputation of sexual harassment follows him. While trying to reform and win back his family, Jeff is targeted by two colleagues who trap him in a dangerous game of temptation.