FOR a while, it felt like there was a new teen boy film out every year. Whilst male sexuality is heavily documented in cinema, female desire is still criminally underrepresented. So, when a film that does tackle it is as good as this one, it’s like a breath of fresh air.
Yes, God, Yes is a sincere and charming look at masturbation through the eyes of teenage girl Alice (played by Natalia Dyer of Stanger Things fame). Clouded in shame from her Catholic School teachings, she starts to get seriously worried about her feelings of lust and thinks she’s going to hell for re-watching the steamy Titanic scene over and over (and over) again.
Faced with a rumour about her and a boy engaging in something God would definitely not approve of, she turns to an AOL chat room for help. Here she happens upon some racy pictures and decides to go a step further and explore her feelings a little more.
Lured by the idea of belonging to an elite group of students and in an attempt to ‘save’ herself, she goes on a school retreat to a Jesus camp. But whilst her peers (including the boy from the rumour) seemingly adapt perfectly, Alice continues to struggle with her thoughts.
Retreats like these are designed to further shame their students into believing that the mighty He is always watching, and you will go to hell if you step out of line.
Although not as common in the UK as the US, these types of teachings are familiar to young people around the world. But, as Alice discovers, lust and sexual feelings are normal and something that everyone experiences – even those who preach otherwise.
Dyer’s performance as the naïve Alice is a stand out. She seems authentic and her ability to blend into her character is one of the best I have seen in a while.
Director Karen Maine has done an incredible job with her directorial debut. She nails down the exact feeling of shame and embarrassment that most women will feel in their life and she does it with the skill of someone more veteran.
Although we don’t see much of them in-depth, it is clear that every character is written with care. Whether it’s Alice’s hot campmate or the Priest that teaches her, they all have complex personalities that are shown through subtle writing and camera shots.
Despite the possible uncomfortableness that comes with the topic of the film there is no point throughout that felt awkward or weird. Maine navigates the topic with the knowledge and gentleness of someone that cares intensely about what they are making.
The beauty of Yes, God, Yes is that even if you haven’t experienced the exact scenario that plays out, the shame and self-discovery is something that almost every woman can relate to.
Although warranted for the small amounts of nudity, it seems a shame that it has been given a 15 rating. There is nothing in here that would shock a younger teen and, in many ways, might educate young women and let them know that it is okay to feel the way Alice does.
If there had been a film like this around when I was younger, I am certain that it would have made a huge difference to the way I felt growing up. Karen Maine is part of a revolution of female directors making films for and about women and it’s about damn time.
Yes, God, Yes is out digitally on August 17 and will be available to buy on Amazon, Google and other major streaming platforms.
Featured image credit: Strike Media