“YES, GOD, YES”
Masturbation for Girls
“Yes, God, Yes” is the film debut of Karen Maine and it is a confident, biting look at a teenager discovering her own body and beliefs. When Alice (Natalia Dyer) re-watches the sex scene from the film “Titanic”, she feels unsure what her body is telling her while she watches this scene over and over. She, however, is sure that she’ll be going straight to hell if she acts on them om how she feels about what she sees.
Early on in the film, Alice and her friends are lectured by their teacher, Father Murphy (Timothy Simons) that boys are like microwaves and girls are like ovens, they take longer to turn on. The film presents a unique and thoughtful look at a woman discovering her body and what turns her on. in the all so funny awkward teenage ways.
Sixteen-year-old Alice has always been a good Catholic girl. But when an AOL chat turns racy, she discovers masturbation and becomes filled with guilt. She navigates the weird wide spectrum of AOL chat rooms and meets a man who sends her photos that begin her sexual awakening.Seeking redemptionas she attempts to question her sexuality, Alice attends a weekend camp designed to make her feel closer to God and to gain more meaning in her life. She tries to suppress her urges, but it isn’t easy, especially after a cute boy starts flirting with her. Alice’s sense of shame grows when she uncovers a shocking truth about the retreat’s most devout people. Desperate and confused, she flees and meets an unlikely ally who offers an alternative view of what it means to be good. For the first time, Alice realizes she can decide for herself what to believe and finally gets the release she needs.
Writer/director Karen Maine has a keen eye for comedy in a form that we don’t see too often. Set in 2001 during the AOL/AIM era where you didn’t know who the hell you were chatting with, Alice reaches her sexual awakening through the power of AOL. Once Alice opens a chat and sees a sexual act, her hormones scream out and her awakening is immediately followed by guilt as a child of God and translates into her school life, which is not only full of hypocrites, but also very gossipy where Alice becomes the target of a rumor involving a sexual term that she has no idea about.
Natalia Dyer performs with restrained comedic brilliance that showcases the uncomfortableness of high school and the interesting self-discovery that follows. The film is filled with sharp writing that takes more than a few pokes at the idea that sex outside of marriage (even masturbation) will send one to hell. The film finally gives young women a movie that shows it’s okay to figure out what you like and believe in on your own terms.
The film is short, smart, and it gets to the point in just 78 minutes. The script is strong and director Maine goes deep into the parts of our adolescence that we’re often afraid to express and share. What makes the film even more hilarious is the religious aspect. Whenever raunchiness is applied, it’s an authentic surprise to progress the story and the results are hysterical but never sacrificing charm as it captures the awkwardness and non-certainty of adolescence in a swiftly-paced story.
The emotional details are right on, as Alice bears witness to the contradictions and outright hypocrisy of those around her in abiding God’s will and while the confusion may be temporarily painful, the need to form her own opinion will prove invaluable later. “Yes, God, Yes” captures the uncertainty of those post-pubescent years. It’s a “naughty but nice” coming-of-age story.