Booksmart Movie Review
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Early in Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut, Booksmart is a line that stuck with me to the end, “we are not one-dimensional, we are smart and fun.” It stuck with me because it accurately frames Wilde’s accomplishment with this type of teen party comedy – that the genre is capable of more than just gross-out humor and over-the-top antics.
Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) are the best of friends on the cusp of high school graduation. They both worked really hard to do high school the “right way” by skipping parties and the (stereo)typical teen experience to “load-up” on AP courses with the goal of getting into the best ivy-league colleges. But it troubles the ladies when they learn, on the eve of graduation, that their degenerate classmates also got into those same colleges. How could they have been so naive? In a last ditch effort to save their high school souls they decide to attend the biggest party of the year and get crazy.
It sounds like most any teen comedy for sure, but where Booksmart differs is that it doesn’t solely rely on gross-out humor for laughs, nor does it have any high school bullies or popular girls to help forward the protagonist’s journey. It’s a movie that celebrates the people beyond our family members, that are the most important in shaping our personalities, while featuring women and men who know who they are, not afraid of their sexuality and certainly, not just experimenting with it.
Regrettably I missed Booksmart at its World Premiere at SXSW this year. I would have loved to ask Wilde about her inspirations for this film as it is wonderfully explores friendship. It’s also filmed, timed and scored with veteran skill, lacking features in most of its genre and surprising as a debut feature. Booksmart deserves your attention.
Oh…and Billie Lourd you guys!!!