High school is an awkward time for everyone. Especially when you’re a teenager just trying to get through. However, you add religion into the mix and things get completely awkward. Not to mention when you set a movie in the more innocent time of the early 2000s, this is the only way you can get this movie to work. Yes, God, Yes is based on a short film, by the same name, made in 2017. Director Karen Maine wrote and directed both and reminds us of an innocent time.
The movie evolves around Alice (played by Stranger Things Natalia Dyer), who discovers masturbation through an AOL chat. Haven’t we all. At the same time, a rumor in school has started about her “tossing salad” of a guy that she went off to a shed with. Just to get some drinks at a party over the weekend. With that lingering over her head, and her newly discovered sexual urges, Alice feels that he is about to face eternal damnation.
Natalia Dyer played the character in the original 2017 short, but she is the only actor to return for the film. After her Stranger Things fame, she was probably the name that got the project funding. Not to belittle it, but it is simply a point of fact.
While the film does focus on the struggles of Alice, which is a coming-of-age film, it shares themes on the hypocrisy of the religious. As the rumor spreads through school about her “tossing salad” of some boy, who has a girlfriend, she tries to seek redemption. The school has a religious retreat for students, who want to get closer to God. Alice and her friend join, but things get more awkward for her.
A study of the real world
As any teenager that discovers sex and masturbation (and that he’s a teenager), there are a lot of things that turn her on. Especially when he discovers the vibration setting on her phone. The character arc begins to flow as someone who feels they are being judged and ridiculed. How can all these people around her be so perfect, and she is somewhat defective. Or even being pursued by the devil. However, she begins to learn that much of it is show.
The only person that is trying to practice what he preaches is Chris (Wolfgang Novogratz), who is the hunky football player that helps at the camp. Alice can’t get her mind off of him. As most teenage girls, Alice does things to gain his attention, which seems to work. However, his guidance toward God is blocked by her sexual obsession of him. Of all the people at the camp, he is the most pure.
Alice is a bit incomplete
One of the issues that comes up when the film progresses is that there are still many questions regarding Alice. People accuse her of being a deviant, which doesn’t seem to manifest in the script. Except within her own mind. Her best friend accuses her of being an attention whore, but isn’t depicted as much as others. In actuality, she is less of one than most teenage girls of that age. As far as that “incident” on the shed, it is never fully addressed. She denies it happened, but the boy doesn’t deny it. Even though it costed him his relationship with his girlfriend.
Father Murphy seems to be the biggest obstacle for Alice. He is the adult figure that is the personification of God and his divine power. The doorman to heaven, if you will. At least in the mind of Alice. Through a series of major misunderstandings and lies, she continuously ends up in his office. However, during the course of the film, she realizes that he is merely a man.
The film moves at a pretty quick pace. Coming in at a light hour and eighteen minutes. While the film has some funny and heavily awkward moments, the film fails to grab and give a deeper insight into Alice. She is misunderstood and confused about her budding sexuality. But it does have a great look at hypocrisy in the religious. In the end, Alice struggles through the weekend but only to find herself. And that being in her own skin isn’t so bad. We’re pretty sure God won’t damn her for it.