Bernadette Peters sings a song titled ‘Making Love Alone,’ which is, as you probably guessed, a song about masturbation. I think that song would be a perfect theme song for Karen Maine’s ‘Yes God Yes,’ which is a coming-of-age film about a young woman named Alice, who discovers a lot of things in this quirky and satisfying indie. Alice goes to a very strict Catholic school – one where they teach that masturbation is a sin. But her hormones are raging, and she finds herself rewinding to ‘that foggy scene’ in Titanic. So what’s a girl to do? She goes on a weekend religious retreat to sort things out on how to evade these ‘temptations.’
Natalia Dyer plays Alice, and she is great here. Maine’s touch is very light, and treats the Catholicism in a very satirical vein. I know these retreats only too well, it reminds me of the one I went to when I was in High School: ‘Days With The Lord.’ The hypocrisy is rampant in these things, where everyone acts holier-than-thou, only for them to engage in things far worse than the ones they are judging. I think more or less, kids who grew up in this environment get some kind of realization on what’s true, and what’s not, and take the positive things they can get from being a Catholic. This film captures that moment perfectly. My favorite moment from the film is when Alice meets a lesbian and gets taught a lot of practical things about life in a span of a short encounter, and she learns more than she has ever learned in Catholic school. The pandemic has brought us very few joys – this film is a bright spot in it.