By: Sami Chazonoff
Directed by actress, producer and director Olivia Wilde, Booksmart introduces us to a new on-screen dynamic duo, leading ladies Beanie (born as Elizabeth Greer) Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever. In this progressive, inclusive, hilarious and heartwarming film, 26-year-old Feldstein proves that she is far more than just Jonah Hill’s kid sister, and is on her way to becoming comedy gold herself. The actress stars as the overachieving Molly, a high school senior who is set to attend Yale, while 22-year-old co-star Dever graces the screen as best friend Amy.
Amy and Molly are the quintessential modern-day female role models (aside from being just a tad judgmental of their peers) and an incredible on-screen pairing. These badass feminists are brilliant best friends, who worked hard and didn’t break the rules and got into reputable universities. As innocent, bookish teens, they never thought they were missing out on partying and genuinely saw the fun in library dates and laidback sleepovers. When the friends realize that they could have had it all, they strive to make their final night of school different.
We personally thought that audiences everywhere should run (not walk) and grab everyone they know on the way, to catch Wilde’s directorial debut while it is still in theatres. If the numbers are any indication, the film has scored a whopping 97 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Bringing to mind a female Superbad, Booksmart flips gender roles, as female characters are shown as the strong ones, cracking the jokes and moving the story along. In this film, they are the critics, the heroes and the fan favourites.
The movie is effectively cast and includes every “classic high- school persona” to a tee – down to the over-dramatic theatre kid, George, who pronounces “Barcelona” as “Barthelona” after living there for just one summer. Noah Galvin shines in this role.
Wilde doesn’t miss a beat and cuts every single scene before jokes drag out too long or banter stops being funny, as almost every scene ends on a “laugh-out-loud” moment. The theatre was roaring with laughter for the duration of the film – every little song and dance move is both humorous and heartwarming. The soundtrack is also perfection, with catchy beats that are sure to find a spot on your summer playlist.
As Amy and Molly discover, they could have spent their high school years hitting the books and also partying with their classmates on weekends. They missed out on getting to actually know the people in their graduating class, and as the girls discover on the night before graduation, they enjoy spending time with their peers.
They realize these classmates are their equals and no lesser than them, as they all managed to get the grades, but also enjoy their teenage years. For anyone reflecting on their own high school experience with nostalgia, this light-hearted, female driven comedy is the perfect coming-of-age story to make you laugh, smile and check your schedule the moment you leave, to see when you’re free to go watch it next. As you look at your calendar, this film with a message of “work hard, play hard” may leave you wishing to flip the years back, to the good old days when school was out for summer.