Starring: Natalia Dyer, Timothy Simons, Wolfgang Novogratz
Director: Karen Maine
Running Time: 78 mins
Yes, God, Yes is an American film about a Catholic teenager who finds herself conflicted between her faith and the temptation of masturbation, after an online chat unexpectedly awakens new urges.
A really solid coming-of-age drama that portrays the transition from innocent youth to world-weary adult in stark fashion, Yes, God, Yes blends sobering drama with charming humour and charisma in a short but punchy tale of personal growth and discovery.
Combining perspectives on institutional hypocrisy and personal maturing, this is a film with a lot to say, and for the most part, it does a great job. Far from a preachy or even aggressive attack on those it discredits, it’s a movie that’s genuinely charming, heartfelt and tempered in its approach.
Though it might sound like a strange topic for an ‘inspiring’ film to focus on, our young lead’s discovery of the pleasures of masturbation are used as a metaphor for her coming-of-age, and discovery that the world she has been instructed by all her life is not in fact all-knowing.
Taking this discovery as a cue for a quiet yet powerful rebellion against her strict Catholic community, she begins to open up to the wider world, as well as to the reality of how hypocritical those who seek to teach her rigid morality act.
In that, the film isn’t so much of an attack on Catholicism or Catholics themselves, but rather uses the extremes of the religion to showcase how damaging and hypocritical certain practices and ideologies can be on young people.
Natalia Dyer gives a wonderful performance that sees her proving convincing both as a sheltered and innocent teenager as well as a quietly rebellious young adult, and it’s through her that you really understand the hurtful effects of the hypocrisies of her elders, particularly given how free she becomes once she removes the shackles of her upbringing and begins to fight back.
Dyer is funny and charming all the way through, and brings a soft, sweet presence to what could at times have been a very heavy watch. In that, Yes, God, Yes isn’t quite as intensely dramatic as The Miseducation Of Cameron Post, which also looks at the consequences of extremist education, but it is just as charismatic and enjoyable as it is hard-hitting.
Featuring a pleasant dash of ’00s nostalgia too, Yes, God, Yes is a thoroughly enjoyable watch, with buckets of drama and thought-provoking themes taking centre stage over the course of a punchy 78 minutes. The lead performance from Natalia Dyer is wonderful too, and her blend of charisma and dramatic chops gives the film’s sobering message an uplifting and even inspiring edge. So, that’s why I’m giving the film a 7.7 overall.