Who still remembers AOL chat rooms? Well, anyone who grew up in the 90s, long before the days of wifi, will remember hanging out in AOL Chat Rooms and talking with your buddies online alongside making new friends with complete strangers. And that's part of the narrative of this short film called 'YES, GOD, YES' directed by Karen Maine and starring Natalia Dyer (you'll know her as Nancy Wheeler in Stranger Things).
In it Dyer plays a 15-year-old good Catholic school girl called Alice and along with her friends, spends her time hanging out in AOL Chat Rooms with her buddies, she also has a racy experience there too. The film starts with Alice in a group chat with everyone saying what their favorite movies are. Things then take a sudden turn into racy territory when she receives a pic from a guy of him and his wife making the beast with two backs.
What follows is Alice's school life clashing with her burgeoning sexuality. On the one hand her school is teaching her how to be a good Catholic, while on the other side AOL Chat Rooms (and the Titanic car sex scene) are teaching her how not to be a good Catholic. In fact, how to sin. And it causes Alice to be caught in the middle, asking a classmate, "Do you think cybersex is a sin?" "Probably" her friend replies.
Director Karen Maine On Sex & AOL Chat Rooms
So what follows is a one girl's journey into self-exploration and masturbation, peppered with humor and the guy she met in the AOL chat rooms who keeps sending her racy photos. Director Karen Maine told Vimeo, “This is a love story between one woman and her vagina. Many girls often explore their bodies first, before they have partnered experiences, yet we rarely get to see this portrayed on screen. I want to change that.”
Maine drew on her own time as a student at a Catholic school in making the film, and also wanted to challenge hypocrisy when it comes to male and females getting their rocks off, especially when it comes to discussing it in classrooms in Catholic schools. As such a subject demands, there's also plenty of humor too, with the whole AOL Chat Rooms making for a fun setting for anyone who remembers those early internet days of dial-up.
“Male sexual pleasure is an integral part of reproduction, so ejaculation was of course discussed more openly in my classes (it’s even in the Bible!) whereas female sexual pleasure is never discussed because it’s not integral to reproduction." notes Maine. "This attitude of course extends beyond religious beliefs — in general, female sexual pleasure is rarely discussed, which is a sad reality that should be changed.”
'YES, GOD, YES' is a heartfelt coming-of-age movie short set in a time, so long ago, when things were a lot more innocent than they seem now and AOL chat rooms were the place we all went to hang out and try and be cool.