In director Olivia Wilde’s new film Booksmart, all hell breaks loose for the two high school geeks on the night before their graduation. The two academic superstars realize perfect grades are not the be all and end all. (SYJ: 3.5/5)
Review written by FF2 Media Intern Sophia Y. Jin
A meditation tape plays as “Molly” (Beanie Feldstein) begins her day. Her best friend “Amy” (Kaitlyn Dever) picks her up to go to school. Parking in a space reserved for the class president, Molly and Amy head up to the school on their final day as high schoolers. The hallways are a mess as confetti flies around and water fights ensue. Besides annoying the two best friends and obstructing their passage, the chaos does not faze them. They head to “Principal Brown’s” (Jason Sudeikis) office to look over the end of year budget.
Molly and Amy head to their English Literature classroom as classes start, and their favorite teacher, “Miss Fine” (Jessica Williams), exchanges phone numbers with them. They bond over crossword puzzles and talk about how they’ll miss each other. The other “cooler” kids in the class make fun of them, but that doesn’t seem to bother them either.
During the lunch break, Amy and Molly speculate on “Jared” (Skyler Gisondo) and “Gigi’s” (Billie Lourd) relationship. During their discussion, Amy notices “Ryan” (Victoria Ruesga), her crush, skating suavely on her skateboard. Molly pushes the enamored Amy to talk to Ryan, which ends in nervous gibberish, though Amy does manage to find out that there will be a party at “Nick’s” (Mason Gooding) aunt’s house that night. Bathing in their perfect achievements, the two best friends disregard the information about the party. Molly goes to the bathroom, but when in the cubicle, she overhears “Triple A” (Molly Gordon), “Theo” (Eduardo Franco) and “Tanner’s” (Nico Hiraga) conversation about her; Molly confronts them with confidence and condescension, that she is, in fact, going to Yale and has “plenty of diplomas”. Triple A stomps on Molly’s ego when the former states that she is also going to Yale and got a high score in her SATs. Theo tells her that he’s skipping college, but is going straight to work at Google, and Tanner has a sports scholarship to Stanford.
In a panic, Molly finds out that a lot of the students who don’t seem to care about studies as much as partying are also going to Ivy league schools. A shocking realization hits Molly—the two goody-two-shoes have completely missed out on a huge part of high school life apparently for no good reason. This propels her to decide that they must make up for it by going to Nick’s party. After convincing Amy to go with her, they get ready to party! After showering each other with an endless stream of exaggerated comments on their outfits, they excuse themselves from Amy’s christian parents, “Charmaine” (Lisa Kudrow) and “Doug” (Will Forte). Unfortunately, neither girl knows the address to the party. Hence begins an adventure of finding the right party and making the most of what’s left of high school life.
Olivia Wilde’s film Booksmart holds a message to the young audience: don’t be all work and no play, but also don’t be all play and no work. Despite the comedy and adventure, the goose chase to find the correct party becomes repetitive, and only exists to create drama and prolong the adventure. The general feel of the movie remains light, and the acting is good and natural, especially Kaitlyn Dever and her character’s awkwardness. The film promotes female empowerment in young adults, includes gay relationships and openly discusses women and their sexuality. The film shows the open mindedness of different types of people, and fights stereotypes. It also shows that despite their air of superiority, other students still like them as people once they came down to earth. This film is a fun one to watch with friends.
Coach Katusha’s Comments:
Booksmart is a fun movie to watch at a sleepover. Director Olivia Wilde’s film is built on a premise that many people will find brings back nostalgic memories of their high school years. The writing by Susanna Fogel, Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, and Katie Silberman manages to maintain its light-hearted tone throughout. The dialogue feels very careful and inclusive, which makes it well-suited for today’s audience, but stereotypes are still very much a part of this movie. Although it must be noted that the writers attempt to break some stereotypes, which is somewhat successful. Sadly, the core of the story centers around a chase, which begins to grow repetitive and tedious midway. Nevertheless, the chemistry between Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever is sweet, which keeps the audience rooting for them. (KIZJ: 3.5/4)
© Sophia Y. Jin (05/29/19) FF2 Media
Does Booksmart pass the Bechdel-Wallace test?
Yes, the girls talk about their studies.
Photo Credits: Annapurna Picture