YES GOD YES
When I first started watching Karen Marie’s “Yes God Yes”, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. A friend on Twitter (@filmgal) had recommended it, and she and I seem to have pretty similar tastes in cinema. Well, I have to say, I was not let down!
Yes God Yes is a fantastic examination of the Catholic Church and some of the more extremely religious parishes out there. I should say it’s more of a study of the hypocrisy throughout the church and what it indocturnates in it’s younger parishioners. It definitely focuses mainly on the natural sexual feelings that the majority of teenagers have and go through in their teenage years.
The Church, as its portrayed in this film, uses it’s teachings to basically brainwash the kids into thinking that these urges and desires are evil and that they will go to Hell if they act upon them before marriage. While this is generally true of how Catholicism views extramarital intercourse or even extramarital experimentation with some sexual acts that many would never even consider actual sex, the level of guilt on young people in the church is extremely high. That’s not even considering the guilt and pressure they feel from their peers as well as society in general.
I think the biggest focus of Yes God Yes is the extreme hypocrisy throughout the church and religion in general. There are scenes where the priest on the retreat the students go on just finishes giving lectures on premarital sex, and then Natalya Dyer’s character Alice catches the priest watching pornography in his office and masterbating to it.
Alice is further lectured by one of the camp counselors who later is seen giving a blow job to a fellow counselor. This can only further Alice’s difficulty navigating the worlds of both being a human teenager and trying to be a “good” Catholic. How can she not “sin” when everyone around her in an authoritative role is doing just that.
I think that Karen Maine did a FANTASTIC job as far as casting and illustrating how difficult and conflicting it can be growing up in a very Catholic family and trying to be a “normal” kid at the same time. Speaking from my own experience, I grew up in the church, was devoutly religious, even was an altar server (altar boy) for 10+ years of my youth. I had even looked into going into seminary to join the priesthood. It wasn’t until I was out on my own in a college environment that I began to realize the hypocrisy within the churches actions and teachings. Not to mention the fact that the church itself is one of the largest businesses on the planet. So, yes, I have drifted away and I do still believe in a higher power, but I do it on my own terms and practices.
On a closing note, I have to say how excellent of a job Natalia Dyer did in this film. She plays an innocent school girl so well, innocent yet conflicted. Conflicted and curious about life. As we all are at that age. She plays clueless so well at the beginning, and her character grows so much over the short weekend retreat that she comes completely out of her shell by the end of the film and, I think, starts discovering her own truth.
All in all, Yes God Yes is a fantastic indie film from first time director Karen Maine. It raises a lot of important issues in the Catholic Church and it addresses them head on. It crams a lot into it’s 77 minute runtime. It’s delightfully humorous in all the right places, and it has a pretty solid late 90’s soundtrack to boot.
All in all, I give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Yes God Yes is available to stream on Netflix.
An amazing story for sure. A tale of courage and the impossible. But not the deep level of care and connection that one felt when watching Jimmy’s Oscar winning film “Free Solo”.
Honestly I blame all the pushback from the Thai government and military. The sense that they didn’t want non-professionally trained foreigners (who had more skill and determination as hobbiests than the entire Thai Navy SEAL team combined) showing up their military professionals on a world wide screen.
I also felt a bit disconnected, because, as an American myself, I know this occured during the Trump Administration, and I’m ashamed that our country did so little to help these 12 children and their coach in the 16+ days they spent fearing for their lives.
Another solid offering from my bud Jimmy Chin and his partner Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and National Geographic it just felt like some story was held back, perhaps due to government red tape.
I still recommend giving it a watch on Disney+ .