Booksmart Movie Review
Booksmart is the feel-good feminist movie we all needed when we were teenagers
Released: March 10, 2019
Director: Olivia Wilde
I was recently talking to a friend about how there hasn’t been a Mean Girls for generation Z, a bible of surviving the transitional time in your life when you’re not a teenager but you’re not a grown woman yet. Then Booksmart happened.
Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) are two self-satisfied over-achievers about to graduate high school. They’ve done everything right: studied hard, avoided parties and swerved messy relationships. Now, they look forward to their reward of a prestigious college education and enviable job offers. They’re in for the shock of their lives when they realise the party-loving peers they looked down on have bright futures too. Like most people who were geeks in school, it never occurred to them that you can work hard, play hard and have career prospects.
Feeling devastated and robbed of their adolescence, the best friends decide to go wild on their last night of school to make up for everything they missed out on. We’re treated to a modern take on the tired tropes we’re accustomed to seeing in American films: the hunky sportsmen, the stunning mean girls, the classic heartthrob and, of course, the outcasts. Most importantly, we get to see two female friends go on a journey without it revolving around their love interests. (Seriously, when does this ever happen?)
When it comes to choosing a highlight of the film, it’s hard to know where to start. The candid talk about sex and masturbation. The continual references to famous feminist figures. Amy’s first (and painfully awkward) sexual encounter since she came out as a lesbian. Amy slapping Molly in the face for thinking she isn’t good enough for her crush. These things shouldn’t feel groundbreaking, but they are.
The young women care about being “woke,” but it doesn’t feel forced. The comedy is effortless. Their gripping chemistry, arguments over who looks the most beautiful and unconditional love and support for each other are refreshing and made me emotional several times because I realised how rare it is to see this on screen.
Booksmart is so much more than your average coming-of-age comedy; it’s the feminist film we all needed when we were growing up. A genuinely hilarious film packed with witty one-liners and a stellar cast, this has cult classic written all over it.