A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Movie has progressive, sex-positive themes about how it's natural for adolescents to have and explore sexual feelings, attraction, curiosity, how none of this is something to be ashamed of or repress. Alice is encouraged to be open with herself about her desires and not be too hung up on rules and regulations of church. Catholic and other families of faith may disagree with how the religion and its followers are portrayed. The film makes Catholicism and Catholics seem like they're anti-sex or hypocrites who publicly promote abstinence but privately enjoy pornography and sexual activity. Also explores how young women are chastised for sexual experiences while young men are praised. Self-control is a theme.
Positive Role Models
Alice is a curious, intelligent young woman who's understandably unaware and naive about sex and how to reconcile her thoughts with her religion. She's inquisitive and searches for answers. Father Murphy means well in teaching his students about the sanctity of marriage and sex, even as he struggles privately with his celibacy. Nina is depicted more hypocritically, preaching one thing but doing another when it comes to premarital sex acts.
Violence & Scariness
One character purposely falls in the woods, scraping and bloodying her knee (and jeans) so that another character will help her walk/pick her up. An adult administrator forcefully enforces a school dress code, confronting students in a way that could be perceived as shaming. Two teens discuss partial-birth abortion video they had to watch in class.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A major plot point is that Alice is accused of "tossing Wade's salad" when she doesn't even know what that means. Cybersex, including shared photos of partial nudity, a topless woman in panties with a man's torso and arms on top of her. In addition to sharing of sexual photos (which may or may not be authentic), there are glimpses of pornographic films that show a topless woman whose buttocks are visible as she straddles a man and implied oral sex and masturbation. Kissing. A character lowers herself to perform oral sex, but camera focuses on voyeur who's aroused by the sight and masturbates (clothed) with mop handle. A teen apologizes for his erection after brief kissing. Several discussions about sex, masturbation, abstinence.
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Bullying language like "slut," "slutty," "perv," "pervy," "loser," "disgusting," "stupid," "psycho," "weirdo." Also "dammit," "s--t," "c--k," and "a--hole," and "Jesus Christ" and "Oh my God."
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Products & Purchases
Discussion of Oakley sunglasses, BMW car, AOL/AOL Instant Messenger, a plasma screen TV, Blink 182.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink at a bar Alice walks into, and she (who is underage) successfully orders a wine cooler.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Yes, God, Yes is a semi-autobiographical teen comedy set in the early 2000s. It centers on Alice (Natalia Dyer of Stranger Things, a Catholic high school girl who accidentally ends up having a sexual internet chat with a stranger the same week that rumors spread at school about her and a classmate. Expect lots of discussion about sex, from virginity and Catholic views on premarital sex to specific sex acts and the reputation you can get for even allegedly doing something. There are also glimpses of a cybersex chat and pornography, as well as implied oral sex and masturbation, a couple of kisses, and an off-camera sex act that someone watches voyeuristically. Language is occasionally strong or insulting ("s--t," "slut," "perv," "a--hole," etc.), and there's one moment when a teen is served a wine cooler at a bar where adults are drinking. Families will be able to discuss their beliefs about sexism, sex, and religion after watching the film. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This well-written and performed sex-themed coming-of-age comedy is funny and amusingly quaint considering how much more open teens are 20 years after the movie's post-Y2K era. Despite being 25, Dyer is still youthful enough to believably play an older teen whose experiences with sex are mostly through pop culture (the Titanic car scene!) rather than real life. Alice is both amusingly naive and curious. She doesn't want to be labeled or judged, but she's undeniably interested in sex and arousal -- within the safe confines of a hot classmate. Writer-director Karen Maine -- who based the film partially on her own experiences -- depicts Alice's struggles as a commentary on the Catholic church's focus on abstinence until marriage, as well as the general sexism involved in high school sexual politics (Alice is shamed for purportedly doing something amoral and "vixenish" with a guy at a party).
Yes, God, Yes is set around the year 2000, with Titanic obsession, one classmate's love of Blink 182's 1999 album Enema of the State, and the old-fashioned technology (desktops, dial-ups, and AOL Instant Messenger) serving as the main clues to the timeline. Alice also mentions Oakley sunglasses, uses a flip phone, and references a few other popular-at-the-time items, but this isn't a movie that's steeped in nostalgia like Dyer's most famous project, Stranger Things. Maine's comedy is about sex, school, sexism, religion, and figuring out that sometimes well-meaning adults and friendly classmates are actually judgmental hypocrites. There's a lot to unpack, all of it unfavorable to the church and the patriarchy, and, while witty, the movie also seems almost safe by Gen Z standards. Many of today's high schoolers are more progressive and understanding regarding everything from gender identity and expression to sexual orientation to women's rights, so it's unclear who the ideal audience is for Yes, God, Yes. Still, it's entertaining and well executed enough that Maine should continue to chronicle adolescence and young adulthood.
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