FIB Film Review – Booksmart

A pair of dorky schoolgirls make it their mission to ace partying as well as they aced their high-school exams (it didn’t go to plan, obviously).

Photo Credit: Refinery29

If you’re looking for a sweet, hilarious, and canny film experience; Booksmart is the film for you. These two quirky Ivy-league-bound best friends, Molly and Amy, make it worryingly impossible to dislike them as they navigate their way through their final days of high-school.

After finding out their years of substituting partying for studying left them with the same academic standing as their more ‘irresponsible peers’, yet with a much lower social status, they set out to make sure their senior year is unforgettable.

Their mission: consolidate their reputation as the smart and funny chicks before graduation. The outcome: pure, unadulterated, substance and anxiety induced havoc. 

In an era where many movies are withering under the light of #MeToo and social media’s general no-more-bullshit attitude, this film offers a female-fronted comedy that actually works. Booksmart’s dialogue is funny, quick, and utterly feminist which fits perfectly parallel with the personalities of the two protagonists.

There’s just something oddly refreshing about hearing two teenage girls talk about sex and relationships so freely and albeit, awkwardly (relatable).

Booksmart is Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut to which she nailed eloquently despite her sudden shift from popular actress to filmmaker. Her makeshift film-school on the sets of great filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, Spike Jonze and Reed Morano gave her an edge that no film-school could have taught.

“I hope I get to keep acting in other people’s movies because that’s where I’m going to keep learning. I’ve spent so much time shadowing directors, I fear that if I just stop exposing myself to other directors’ skills, some part of me will atrophy. I need to continue learning from other people.”

Photo Credit: Vanity Fair

Her political voice and roared throughout the film, offering a tone of storytelling that felt revolutionary. Wilde described the film as a celebration of Generation Z’s youth, after having grown up in a “demented political situation”.

The film’s natural acceptance of Amy’s queerness allows for the portrayal of her journey exploring queer relationships as corresponding to that of her straight peers, not in comparison to them. Even still, the themes of romance and sex are still downplayed, giving the spotlight to the girls’ quest for friendship, success, and fun. Which is a clear divergence from the teenage archetypes that we see in other coming-of-age films.

Wilde’s directorial approach avoids overindulging in stylistic visuals, yet her flair for impressive directorial flourishes does not go unnoticed. The scenes to look out for her are the pool scene, which Wilde fought hard to keep in the film, Molly and Amy’s argument scene which is shown in one take with a gliding camera angle, and my personal favourite: when Amy and Molly accidentally consume psychedelic (and fictional) drugs and hallucinate that they’ve been transformed into Barbie dolls.

Photo Credit: Vulture

If you need more reason to watch the film, one line from the drug trip scene was, and I quote: “You have to put my heel in your hole.” But you’ll have to watch the film to find out what that means.

Let us know what you think of Booksmart in the comments down below!