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Film / Yes, God, Yes

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Being bad never felt so good.
Yes, God, Yes is a 2019 American satirical comedy-drama, starring Natalia Dyer, and is the directional debut of Karen Maine, who also wrote it. It is based on the 2017 short film of the same name, also starring Dyer and written/directed by Maine. The film costars Timothy Simons, Wolfgang Novogratz, Francesca Reale, and Donna Lynne Champlin.

In the early 00's, teenage Alice (Dyer) is attending a co-ed Catholic high school in the American Midwest. After an innocent AOL chat turns racy, she begins to explore masturbation. Determined to suppress her new urges in the face of eternal damnation, she and her best friend, Laura (Reale), attend a weekend retreat hosted by their school priest, Father Murphy (Simons). Drama and hilarity ensue.

The film is semi-autobiographical, based upon Maine's own experiences attending a Catholic high school in her youth. It premiered at SXSW 2019. After achieving favorable reviews, it was distributed in selected drive-in theaters and virtual cinemas on July 24, 2020. It later launched digitally and on video on demand on July 28, 2020. The film subsequently was acquired by Netflix, and made available on October 22, 2020.

Tropes in this film include:

  • Anti-Climax: The film never addresses who started the rumor about Alice and Wade or why they did it.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Alice's friend Laura initially comes off as a shallow, but not unsupportive friend. However, she quickly latches onto the tossed-salad rumor, despite Alice's honest denial, and then accuses her of using Fr. Murphy's computer for cybersex (which Alice did do). She ends their friendship and calls Alice a "pervy psycho" in front of the whole retreat, despite Alice doing nothing to her and harming nobody. Then she has the audacity to try and act as if nothing happened when Wade is publicly accused of the cybersex, revealing both her homophobia (she insults him by calling him gay) and saying he probably made up the rumor about him and Alice, meaning she still has zero trust in her friend. By the end of the movie, it's clear Alice is done with her, and just going through the motions.
  • Cassandra Truth: The entire film a rumor that Alice "tossed the salad" with Wade despite nothing happening or even knowing what the phrase even means. Whether she did it or not didn't seem to matter, as by then everyone in the school thinks they had sex and lords it over her.
  • Covert Pervert: Near the end of the movie, Alice walks in on the upstanding conservative Father Murphy secretly watching porn on his computer.
  • Epigraph: The film opens with a quote from Revelation about sexual deviance, followed by a pair of dictionary definitions for both the literal "tossed salad" and the slang "salad tossing."
  • Framing the Guilty Party: Type 3. When Alice realizes Wade has no intention of denying the mean rumors about their supposed dalliance, and finds that his "Promise" bracelet has accidentally fallen off, she decides to get back at him. She hides the bracelet under Fr. Murphy's computer keyboard, after he discovered that someone (Alice) had used his computer to go log-onto an explicit chatroom. Murphy subsequently accuses Wade of the act, and Wade can do nothing but splutter denials, which makes the campers begin to doubt the validity of the original rumor.
  • Gossip Evolution: Prior to the start of the film, Alice and her classmate Wade attended the same house party. Somehow a rumor spread that they spent time in the house's sauna. This quickly spirals into a rumor that they hooked-up in said sauna, to the point that Alice "tossed his salad" (Anilingus). Within a few days, Alice is considered the school slut, as Wade, despite having an irate girlfriend, has done nothing to deny the rumor.
  • Hypocrite: The Kirkos retreat is full of them. The priest is watching internet porn while preaching God's zero-tolerance for masturbation, the counselors are sleeping with each other while spouting the wonders of abstinence, and malicious rumors are spread in a retreat the talks about trust and friendship. However, it's emphasized that this isn't wholly the fault of those involved, but partially a bi-product of an environment that shames people them for their natural sexual urges.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Wade is assumed to be gay when Father Murphy thinks he was the one using the Father's computer for cybersex (it was really Alice).
  • Naughty by Night: Alice is a shy Catholic girl who is obedient and prudish in public (despite her classmates spreading rumors otherwise), but has a secret lustful side that she's only recently discovered. Whenever she's alone, she feels compelled to masturbate just to let out her feelings.
  • Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality: The retreat encourages this, but it usually ends up just making people repress it instead. However, Chris, Alice's crush, is revealed to have completely bought into it. When she throws herself at him and kisses him passionately, he is at first completely into it, until he experiences an erection, which horrifies him to the point that he flees the scene because he's getting "turned on like a microwave".
  • Playing Sick: Or playing injured. During a walk through the woods with the retreat, Alice notices that Chris, the counselor she has a crush on, reacts to protect any of the girls who lose their footing. She immediately fakes falling and twisting her ankle, and Chris swoops in like a Superhero to give her the full Bridal Carry treatment back to the Kirkos center, much to Alice's glee.
  • The Peeping Tom: Alice doesn't intentionally go searching for these situations, but twice stumbles upon viewing people doing naughty things and decides to watch. It contributes heavily with her disillusionment of the church, as everyone's breaking the rules while shaming her for doing just that.
  • Poor Man's Porn: Alice likes watching the famous sex scene from Titanic (1997) over and over again. She ends the film after realizing she can combine the experience with her family's back-massager.
  • Slut-Shaming: The school administration heavily indoctrinate this behavior into its students. Father Murphy is especially bad, emphasizing it in his "Morality" class where he shuns anybody who has sex before marriage as violating God's will. Subsequently, the school is rife with bullying behavior based on the concept, which the administration ignores. The retreat is even worse.
  • Turn of the Millennium: The film is set during the fall of the early 00's. Titanic is still a relatively recent film. Boxy cellphones are becoming more popular, but are not yet ubiquitous. Internet chat rooms are also all the rage, and nobody seems to password-lock their computers or know how to delete their browser history.