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With: Natalia Dyer, Timothy Simons, Wolfgang Novogratz, Francesca Reale, Susan Blackwell, Parker Wierling, Alisha Boe, Donna Lynne Champlin, Blair Nesbitt
Written by: Karen Maine
Directed by: Karen Maine
MPAA Rating: R for sexual content and some nudity
Running Time: 78
Date: 08/07/2020

Yes, God, Yes (2020)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Self A-steam

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Like Saved! before it, this coming-of-age movie attempts to satirize the hypocrisies of organized religion, though Yes, God, Yes succeeds a little better via the courage of its convictions. The wonderful Natalia Dyer is a large part of its success; she plays Alice, a young Catholic girl who becomes the victim of a vicious rumor, claiming that she "tossed the salad" of a boy at school. (She doesn't even know what that means.) When she learns about a retreat, she signs up in an attempt to cleanse her reputation. Unfortunately, before she goes, she inadvertently engages with an online troll looking to coax her into some cybersex. (The old AOL dial-up chatroom lets us know that the story takes place in the late 90s or early 2000s.)

The interaction turns her on, and she pops on her Titanic VHS tape and fast-forwards to the sex-in-the-car scene, discovering the pleasures of touching herself. Father Murphy (Timothy Simons), however, explains that self-love is a sin, and Alice begins her struggle between salvation and pleasure. To make matters more complex, not everyone at the retreat is exactly squeaky-clean either, and she navigates a minefield of deception and subtle blackmail. Written and directed by Karen Maine, the 78-minute movie often feels like it's missing something, or that some scenes were accidentally inserted in the wrong order. But it has an appealingly soft, faded look, like comfy old jeans, and a wonderful late-hour performance by Susan Blackwell as a lesbian in a biker bar that, in one fell swoop, soothes all of Alice's spiritual agonies.

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