Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) are best friends who were so focused on studying during their high school days that they never had any time for fun. But the pair were certain they made the right decision, until the final day of school, when they discover that even the students who frequently slacked off and partied are still getting into prestigious colleges or are starting awesome jobs. Horrified that they unnecessarily denied themselves years of fun, the pair ditch their good girl personas and spend their last night of high school making up for lost time.
Following in the footsteps of other female-led coming of age films which have given the genre a new lease of life in recent years (Kelly Fremon Craig’s Edge of Seventeen, Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird and Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade), Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is a worthy addition to that impressive lineup of films.
The film rests on the strength of the characters and luckily Booksmart boasts two of the most likeable, endearing and strong duos in film history and both Feldstein and Dever play their roles to perfection. The pair genuinely feel like they have been best friends for years by the way they effortlessly play off each other and the ways they support each other are heart-warming.
The screenplay by Susanna Fogel, Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, and Katie Siberman is overflowing with quotable dialogue and crude humour, but also a lot of heart and genuine affection for its characters. For example, Amy’s homosexuality is portrayed with a level of sensitivity that isn’t seen often in mainstream cinema.
Olivia Wilde’s direction is bursting with confidence and creativity and the score by Dan The Automator is brilliant.
Booksmart is one of the most enjoyable viewing experiences I’ve had all year with two lovable leads, hysterical jokes and a lot of heart.
Reviewed by Jordan Ellis