“Yes, God, Yes” Accurately Portrays Catholic School Education


Natalia Dyer plays Alice in the film “Yes, God, Yes.” (Courtesy of Facebook)

I will never be someone who turns down a movie categorized as a “dark comedy” or just comedy in general. That’s why when a friend suggested we watch “Yes, God, Yes,” I was eager to see whether it truly deserved its 94% Rotten Tomatoes rating.

The movie centers around Alice, a student at a private Catholic high school who attends a retreat in hopes of absolving her guilt surrounding thoughts she is told are sinful. She is also naive about the world around her, having absolutely no idea about sexuality or anything relating to the topic. 

One aspect of the movie that I greatly appreciated was its accuracy in portraying what private, Catholic high schools tend to be like. Although I attended public school, my friend who suggested the movie and attended a private Catholic school was blown away by the similarities. 

To me, the treatment of sexual education and the pressure from teachers to abstain from sex was appalling. Again, this film was an entirely new experience for me, but I couldn’t believe that there are actual students learning about this. It seemed so obvious that the reason for some of Alice’s errors and innocent mistakes was a manifestation of her lack of guidance.

However frustrating it was to watch, I can always appreciate when a movie evokes such strong emotions, even if they are negative. “Yes, God, Yes” reminds me of “8th Grade,” a film famous for its candid portrayal of life as a middle schooler. That film was also cringe worthy and definitely had me looking away at times when the awkwardness was too much to bear. 

Another notable aspect of “Yes, God, Yes” was how little Alice speaks, yet how much her personality is distinguished from the rest. The storyline is advanced mainly by the characters around her and her silent, yet significant, acts of rebellion. When Alice has a short monologue towards the end of the movie, I was surprised at the sound of her voice, having heard it so few times before. Natalia Dyer, who plays Alice, does a fantastic job of portraying the struggle of being trapped in a restrictive environment and having little clue as to how to escape. The subtle understatements in her behavior are what made me keep watching. I could never be sure what strange decision Alice was going to make next.

Overall, the film was definitely not a dark comedy. I’m not really sure if I would even consider it a comedy. However, it was entertaining and engaging while simultaneously making me glad I never went to Catholic school. I assume the high rating on Rotten Tomatoes comes from the accuracy, which can often be hard to capture in movies such as this one, and the acting. Despite its subtlety, “Yes, God, Yes” was a short, pleasant movie to watch, especially when it feels like the world is crumbling around us.