Described by writer-director Karen Maine as “a love story between one woman and her vagina,” “Yes, God, Yes,” stars “Stranger Things’” Natalia Dyer as a teenage girl who discovers the joys of masturbation — but also feels ashamed about her budding sexuality.
Alice (Dyer) been raised to be a good Catholic girl, but ever since an AOL chat led to self-exploration, the 16-year-old Midwesterner has been been overcome with the desire to masturbate — a habit that she’s been taught to see as a sin that she should repent and regret.
Desperate to seek redemption, Alice attends a religious retreat with the hopes of suppressing her urges.
“Yes, God, Yes” celebrates its teenage protagonist’s sexuality without sexualizing her. Alice is desperately horny, but she’s never portrayed in anything resembling a titillating light.
The comedy, which is set in the early 2000s, sees Alice dealing with all sorts of embarrassing situations — including being called out for her bogus claim about rewinding the sex scene in “Titanic” multiple times because she couldn’t hear the dialogue — but it never feels like the movie is mocking her inexperience or repressed desires. It’s both rare and refreshing to see a story about a teenage girl’s nascent sexuality that doesn’t reduce her to the butt of a joke.
“I wanted to make a coming-of-age film focused on female self-pleasure,” Maine told us. “Many films that explore young women coming of age feature partnered sex, which is often depicted as painful and not very much fun. While that is a legitimate narrative,” she conceded, “young women are also exploring their own bodies for the first time at this age, but because there’s a lingering stigma around female sexuality it’s rarely portrayed on screen, even though the same narrative about young men has been shown in film and TV for a very long time. So I wanted to make a film about the female experience in the hopes that female sexual pleasure will become a bigger part of the conversation,” she explained.
Dyer shines in the film, and her delightful performance serves as an important reminder of how underutilized she is in “Stranger Things.”
“Yes, God, Yes” is now available in virtual cinemas and drive-ins and will be released via Digital and VOD July 28.