Do Revenge (2022)

Do Revenge
Director: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Writer: Celeste Ballard, Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Cast: Camila Mendes, Maya Hawke, Austin Abrams, Rish Shah, Talia Ryder, Alisha Boe, Ava Capri, J.D., Paris Berelc, Maia Reficco, Sophie Turner, Sarah Michelle Gellar
Seen on: 9.10.2022

Content Note: revenge porn

Drea (Camila Mendes) has worked her way to the top of her prestigious high school’s foodchain – which really hasn’t been easy. But her position comes under threat when a video of her taking her clothes off for her boyfriend Max (Austin Abrams) is put online. Drea is humiliated and dethroned. That’s when Eleanor (Maya Hawke) comes to her high school. Drea and Eleanor share a moment where they talk about how they were hurt in the past – and finally Drea comes up with the idea that each of them should avenge the other, a surefire way to keep suspicion from both of them. But things are never that easy.

Do Revenge is an entertaining and self-aware take on high school movies that manages to both enjoy the vengeful aspects and to show how harmful it can be. I had a lot of fun with it.

The film poster showing Eleanor (Maya Hawke) and Drea (Camila Mendes) in their school uniforms above the other main characters of the film.

Do Revenge is a really modern twist on an old genre – we all know high school movies where revenge plays a big part. Robinson and Ballard obviously do, too. So the film is full of nods and references (starting with casting Sarah Michelle Gellar) to other movies and the genre as a whole, paynig tribute to what came beofre it. But at the same time, it is also very current in the way it includes feminists themes, focuses on Drea and Eleanor’s relationship with each other and in the diversity of its cast. That Eleanor is a lesbian is also pretty awesome. Plus, the soundtrack is really hip.

I also found it rather exceptional how well the film captures just how destructive this quest for revenge is – without becoming a dreary exercise in ethics. It lays bare the narcissism that hides behind most vengeance, and at the same time, it can acknowledge that it can feel very good to give the right people their due like that.

Eleanor (Maya Hawke) and Drea (Camila Mendes) at a dance.

That the big emotional climax then focuses on Eleanor and Drea is only right. Because ultimately, that’s where the heart of the film is – these two and the way they find together, lose each other and find themselves again. Would it have hurt if this had been a romantic thing and Drea had been sapphic as well? No, but it’s also nice to watch them figure out their friendship. Hawke and Mendes are great, have excellent chemistry with each other and make the film even more enjoyable.

I really didn’t expect much going into the film – it looked like yet another teenie movie off the shelf, but I am happy to report that the film manages to feel fresh and original.

Eleanor (Maya Hawke) and Drea (Camila Mendes) cuddling in bed.

Summarizing: really nice.

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