Review: Yes, God, Yes
by Julie Perez
Oh! To be a teen in a chat room having a sexual awakening.
Yes, God, Yes follows sixteen-year-old Alice (played by Natalia Dyer) growing up in the early 2000’s and going to a Catholic school. One day after school, she finds herself in an AOL chat room and the conversation quickly becomes explicit. Being the good catholic school girl that she is, she finds herself immediately guilt-ridden. Which is how she ends up at a private religious retreat attempting redemption. Unfortunately, the mind of a teenage girl will often run rampant and she struggles to suppress her urges the entire time. This is the coming-of-age story we have all been waiting for. If Genie In A Bottle by Christina Aguilera or Candy by Mandy Moore were ever the soundtracks to your life, then I present you your new favorite film.
When making this film, Director Karen Maine set out to portray a story based on her own adolescence and the careful storytelling is felt throughout every single frame. Yes, God, Yes is full of the kind of nostalgia that makes this pandemic a bit more bearable and it so wonderfully captures the teenage experience. The film tells the story of Alice with the kind of humor that will have you cringing as you recall past embarrassing moments in your own life. Though never mean-spirited, this film is full of the kind of satire that ensures that you’re laughing along with the character and not laughing at her.
Natalia Dyer plays Alice’s vulnerability so expertly that you find yourself quickly connecting with Alice. As a teen, who is part of a generation who had their sexual awakening in a chat room and with Titanic playing in the background; this movie felt exactly like what the coming-of-age genre has been missing. Another thing that this film does so beautifully and I think has a lot to do with Karen Maine, is the narrative never shames Alice for her curiosity about sex. The film makes it abundantly clear that Alice’s shame comes from her hypocritical environment and I think that that’s the best gift that Karen Maine could have given a younger generation.
This is an extraordinary directorial debut from Karen Maine and she reminds us of why we need more Female Directors. With just one shot, I knew this movie was going to turn out to be one of my favorites of 2020. It was one slow close up of Chris’s (Wolfgang Novogratz) forearm. Forearms are drastically under-appreciated in film and it’s about time we remedy that.
Yes, God, Yes is a wonderful addition to the coming-of-age films that we have come to love. At a time when we’re looking for a reason to smile, Karen Maine gives you just that.