Booksmart (2019)

Director: Olivia Wilde
Writer: Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, Katie Silberman
Cast: Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Jessica Williams, Jason Sudeikis, Lisa Kudrow, Will Forte, Victoria Ruesga, Mason Gooding, Skyler Gisondo, Diana Silvers, Molly Gordon, Billie Lourd, Maya Rudolph
Seen on: 18.11.2019

Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) are best friends who are nearing the end of high school. They had decided early on that they’d work hard in school to get into the best colleges and that partying could come later. But seeing as their less focused colleagues also got into good schools, they start to doubt their approach so far and decide to live it up this last weekend before finishing high school. But it’s not as easy to get down to party as they thought, especially when you try to fit all the parties you didn’t have into one night.

Booksmart came with a lot of buzz and while I really, thoroughly enjoyed it, the buzz may have been a little too much, leaving me with a faint feeling of “that’s it?”. But the good parts definitely outweighed that.

The film poster showing Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Denver) in matching overalls.

Booksmart does break the mold of high school comedies a little. Not only does it have one lesbian and one fat (at least for movie standards) protagonist, which is in itself already remarkable, but also its entire mission seems to be to break through the usual nerd-jock-clique-hierarchy thing that all other high school movies seem to live as a matter of fact. I loved all of that.

Amy and Molly are great characters, brought to vibrant life by Dever and Feldstein who really have amazing chemistry. They are the heart and soul of the film and what a shiny, beautiful heart and soul they are! It was also a joy to see Jessica Williams in a small supporting role (although her character’s arc did make me uncomfortable).

Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Denver) in their graduation caps and gowns, driving while screaming.

There was a lot going on in the film and it was a lot of fun to see Amy and Molly moving from catastrophe to catastrophe, somehow managing to turn it into fun for themselves as well, albeit not all the time. But maybe the slight twinge of disappointment I felt after the film came from the fact that it doesn’t really go beyond that – but for whatever reason I expected it to. I think if I watched it again now, with adjusted expectations, I’d love it unconditionally (or almost unconditionally).

Be that as it may, Booksmart is absolutely worth seeing. A fun, creative film with unconventional protagonists that moves at a good pace and goes to unexpected places as well as the expected. It’s really lovely.

Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Denver) in class.

Summarizing: Pretty damn wonderful.

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