Finally, a teen film that leaves the toilet humour and sexist jokes of what we’ve had so far – with a handful of exceptions – far behind. Under the helm of Will Ferrell in an executive producer chair and first-time direction from actor Olivia Wilde, Booksmart is an intelligent film about acceptance, friendship and growing up.
The main characters of Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) live in a make-believe stratosphere above all of their peers – but on face value, they are dorks. They are superior do-gooders – Amy will spend the summer helping tribal women in Botswana before heading to Columbia; Molly is going to Yale. They look down their noses at their academically-inferior peers whose partying and lack of study will ensure they never step foot into Molly and Amy’s Ivy-League-tinted world. But it turns out, everyone else is going to good universities too.
With this realisation, the pair make a pact to prove they can party just as good as the others. In the last remaining hours of their senior year, they attempt to track down the coolest party to be at, so they can say they’ve ‘lived’. One diversion to another, they have to rely on reversing the damage their condension to others has done in order to get the party’s location. The ensemble of characters who we can all relate to at some point from our own schooling memories, hammers home the fickleness of that period – what were we trying to prove, to whom and why.
The dialogue is fast and smart, yet packs a lot of laughs; it’s certainly not high brow.
Booksmart opens nationally Thursday 11 July 2019.
Directed by: Olivia Wilde
Written by: Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, Katie Silberman
Stars: Beanie Feldstein, Kaitlyn Dever, Jessica Williams, Jason Sudeikis, Lisa Kudrow