REVIEW: BOOKSMART (2019)

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-“Oh my God! You guys are here!”

-“How did you get here?!”

-“How did you get here?”

-“How are you dry?!”

-“How are you dry?”

Booksmart tells the story of two young girls on the night before their graduation. After spending four years of high school with their nose deep inside the pages of their textbooks, Amy and Molly realize that they have wasted away their four years of high school when they notice that some of their partying peers got into the same distinguished universities. Now on the eve of their graduation, the two young women set out on an odyssey to find the epic high school party. One can’t help but think that that Booksmart is just another coming-of-age film from the point of view of a teenager right on the cusp of taking that leap into college life. We saw it in 2017 with Lady Bird. However, though similar in its execution, Booksmart plays on different themes of a young woman’s life. Think of Lady Bird as the more serious one, but still funny, of the two sisters. But I must admit, Booksmart made me feels something for a movie that I haven’t felt in a long time.

It’s unusual for me to watch a movie, only to immediately feel like watching it again. Booksmart, though similar to other “teen” films in the past, really brings about some truly endearing scenes between the characters. We not only see the two main characters searching for a night of fun, but rather finding themselves in the process. Kaitlyn Dever, who’s most well-known for her television performance in Last Man Standing, absolutely excels in her performance as Amy. 13-booksmart.w1200.h630There is so much vulnerability, both with her sexuality and her overall personality. As for Beanie Feldstein, we’ve seen her in film roles prior to Booksmart. Most notably her performance in in Lady Bird, which she once again plays the main character’s best friend. But here Feldstein has a greater on-screen presence, which causes us to really take notice of her comedic talents. These two girls embrace these characters and provide the audience with a relatable representation of those awkward teen years. However, though these two young ladies drive the story, and are completely bad-ass, it was Billie Lourd’s performance as the eccentric Gigi that really made this film so unique. Lourd’s presence on-screen always had me laughing out loud. Just thinking about some of Gigi’s scenes brings a smile to my face. Not to mention Dever and Feldstein’s reaction to seeing Gigi pop-up in random places are absolutely hilarious.

But to mention Booksmart without saying anything about Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut would be a complete misstep on my part. The transition is usually a rough one when an actor tries to sit in the director’s chair. But as for Wilde, I can honestly say that she will now be a director to watch, and I personally will be first in line for anything else that she directs in the future. BOOKSMARTThough some aspects of the film could’ve been reigned in, Booksmart and its comedic themes is about as ballsy as it goes for a first time director. I have always heard that comedy is the hardest genre to work with. But in this case, Wilde completely broke those rules with creating such a well-made film.

I can go on and on about how Booksmart is such a great film. As a 29-year-old female, I want to know where these types of movies were when I was young. Booksmart will tug at those heart strings, and yet, bring about some of the most fun you’ve ever had watching a movie. I don’t say, “this is a must-see movie,” that often. It’s even more rare that I say that you need to run and see it this instant! So I say to you now, Booksmart is the culmination of everything that a movie should be. To evoke such an emotion from watching a film, is something all movies strive for, but only few can achieve. Booksmart may not earn the big bucks at the theater, but it will go down as one of the best coming-of-age films ever made.

Booksmart

Directed by: Olivia Wilde

Starring: Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Billie Lourd, Lisa Kudrow, Will Forte, and Jason Sudeikis

Rating: 

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  1. Pingback: Member Reviews: “Booksmart” – Online Association of Female Film Critics

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