Yes, God, Yes. The title is as short and sweet as the film itself. Clocking in just at 75-or-so minutes, it is not only a story about a young woman’s (Alice who is played by Natalia Dyer) sexual awakening but also her spiritual one. Expansion of the director/writer Karen Maine’s short film of the same from 2017, it follows Alice to a Catholic retreat for youth where she learns about her interests, hypocrisy and ”goodness”. While the movie does keep the focus on the main character really well so that audience understands her inner struggles, it does seem to lack dynamics that are necessary for deeper emotional connection.
The biggest strength here is the bond between Maine’s directing and Dyer’s restricted acting. They don’t feel the need to smash the viewer’s brains in by explaining every feeling a character has like many teen dramas or comedies do but alternatively Alice gets to walk around the spaces, react and observe. You know, as actual people do. Yes, God, Yes does a great job narrowing down on the things that matter right now in her life whether it’s having a crush, questioning morality from a religious lens or finding out what gives her pleasure. Dyer delivers in a difficult role that requires a lot more facial acting than normally, instead of a fake tear she expresses embarrassment.
In what the film as a whole offers to you, there isn’t really anything that is poor or unresolved. It’s a low budget effort so locations and sets aren’t too intricate and maybe that is also why we don’t get much time with the other characters. You might already assume from the length that there isn’t much to explore and you’d be right. Lacking dynamics in a story like this means that there is neither a beginning or an end per se. Time at the camp just kind of happens and as I did enjoy all that, I did find myself wanting more. Structure is pretty much nonexistent as in it’s not a traditional three act structure or a surprising one, it’s just mostly delightful verses.
Smileys: Directing, Natalia Dyer
Still seems insane to me that these kind of movies are rated R instead of PG.