Title: Yes God, Yes
MPAA Rating: TV-MA
Director: Karen Maine
Starring: Natalia Dyer, Francesca Reale, Alisha Boe
Runtime: 1 hr 18 mins
What It Is: In the early 2000s, Alice (Dyer) is a seemingly normal teenage girl in high school: she goes to a Catholic school, goes to church, has friends. But when a crush leads to a nasty rumor in the midst of her exploring her sexuality despite it conflicting with the rules of her religion, Alice decides to go to a Catholic support group camp. There, she learns more and more of herself while struggling with the urge to not only act on her desires but fight the constraints of her way of living.
What We Think: It makes sense that this came from one of the writers of Obvious Child (an amazing film) as the script is definitely the film’s strongest suit. The delivery and design of which tackles a very relatable subject do so which much self-awareness and sympathy to its subjects in a way that Booksmart had also done for its characters: they cherish instead of making fun of their characters. They all feel like completely fleshed-out, conflicted young people still exploring the emotional and physical awkwardness of sex and growing up in a community that unfairly demonizes sexual expression in practice and education. This film really brought me back in a big way and I’m sure it will do the same for many as it delivers dually enchanting and painful nostalgia of the time period as well as that phase of life. This delivery serves as Juno-esque, though really the largest thing it lacks for me is much visual creativity as the cinematography, editing, color grading, and even some of the soundtrack are dull some. Otherwise, its strong suit is definitely in its script and characters–I had laughed several times within the first act and could really find myself within our protagonist as her actress (the cast following close behind) juggle the many complex feelings that come with this new stage of maturity and whether or not she wants to end up fulfilling others’ expectations of her.
Our Grade: B, Though the technical elements fell flat to me, I can profoundly say it is compensated by marvelous casting, believable performances, a great, palpable story with many intricacies, and the ability to manage themes of sexual exploration, repression, conservative hypocrisy, confused youth, sexism, guilt, and others. This is a film worth putting on your shelf next to Booksmart or But I’m a Cheerleader as it not only rings true for teens but is also an important reflection for us as adults.