SXSW 2019 – Review: YES, GOD, YES Goes All The Way

yes god yes

Yes, God, Yes is a new coming-of-age comedy film directed by Karen Maine. The movie is about a girl in Catholic high school who discovers her sexuality after a seemingly innocent online chat gets racy. It made its debut at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival.

The story of this film is definitely very compelling. The coming-of-age arc has always been an effective one because it is something we all go through in our lives. This movie does a great job of taking a story that is very personal and not totally relatable to everyone (it is the story of an upper-class girl who attends private school) and making it feel like this universal tale of growth.

One of the more effective things about the film is the protagonist’s individual development. The movie does a great job developing her through her personal qualities rather than through her relationship with others. However, this does come at the expense of the development of supporting characters. The film doesn’t do a great job of establishing the protagonist’s relationship with her parents or friends. It would have been interesting to see these characters developed further.

The themes in the movie are very strong and impactful. The film isn’t heavy-handed in any way, and that is super refreshing. Some of the topics that are discussed by the movie well include female sexuality and the importance of religion (or the lack thereof) in one’s identity. The religious parts of the film are particularly interesting, as they lend themselves to some great satirical moments.

The humor in the movie is also very satisfying. The film has you laughing throughout, sometimes because of wit in the dialogue, but often because the situations in which the characters find themselves are awkwardly funny. The opening of the movie is very funny, but once the characters get to the camp, it becomes absolutely hilarious. Many audiences are going to find this film to be absolutely hilarious.

The actors do a great job in their roles. Natalia Dyer, who is perhaps best known for playing Nancy Wheeler in Stranger Things, gives a very compelling lead performance. She brings a lot of emotion and heart to the character and is totally believable. The standout in the supporting cast is Timothy Simons, who plays the Priest that leads the school. He is absolutely hilarious in the role, making the character one of the best parts of the movie.

On a technical level, the film was pretty strong. Although the execution is mostly straightforward, that can be expected given the independent nature of the movie. The movie does a very good job of periodizing the events, though, as the cinematography and production design really capture that early-2000’s vibe that gives the film a nostalgia factor despite the fact that this was less than twenty years ago.

Overall, Yes, God, Yes was a hilarious and touching coming-of-age movie. Although it does have. a few issues, it’s still super compelling.

Yes, God, Yes debuted at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival.

By Sean Boelman

Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

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