Recent Movie Marathon: Yes, God, Yes (2020)

Happy New Year! Today I’ll be sharing my reviews of a binge watch of recent films (released within the past 18 months or so)!

Title: Yes, God, Yes
Release Date: July 24, 2020
Director: Karen Maine
Production Company: Maiden Voyage | RT Features | Highland Film Group

Natalia Dyer stars a teenager, Alice, who attends a conservative Catholic school in small town Iowa in the early 2000s. Her sexuality begins to emerge through tentative cybersex chats and masturbation. At the same time, Alice becomes the center of a school-wide scandal for allegedly “tossing the salad” of a boy in her class, even though she doesn’t know what that phrase means.

The better part of the film is set at a four-day Catholic youth retreat that Alice attends with several classmates, including her best friend and the boy she’s rumored to have performed sex acts with (and his girlfriend!). Over the course of the weekend Alice witnesses other retreatants, the older teen retreat leaders, and even the priest involved in deviant sex acts, exposing their hypocrisy. At the conclusion of the retreat Alice gives a dramatic speech on how everyone is hiding things and how they should treat one another with respect as Jesus wanted.

While the subject of repressed teenage sexuality and how religious people often make life confusing and guilt-ridden for teens curious about their sexuality is a worthy one, I kind of feel this movie missed the mark. The religious figures in the film were mainly broad stereotypes and Alice’s dramatic speech just felt cheesy. Dyer’s performance was good overall, and Wolfgang Novogratz and Alisha Boe deserve kudos for perfectly capturing the enthusiasm of teen retreat leaders. The best scene is when Alice runs away from camp and ends up in a gay bar where she has a heart-to-heart with the bar’s owner Gina (Susan Blackwell), but it’s too little, too late to save the movie.

Rating: **

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