High School is a time of my life that I like to pretend never happened. It was a nightmare time in my life and maybe that is why I love to watch coming of age stories. Because I either like to see that (1) I am not alone that it was a shit show or (2) see hope that school can be better.
But I digress.
Booksmart is Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut and it’s one of the best movies that I have ever seen. And I am not just saying that. We all know that I am critical and love nothing more than a moment to really tear things down to the good and the bad.
But Booksmart is just so good that you can’t find the bad in it. All you can do is find the hope, love, realness, and representation that you would hope that all things have.
The movie tells the story of two seniors who live up their last night before graduation. They’ve spent their years in school focused on getting into the perfect college, doing all the perfect things, and missing out on the things that are synonymous with high school. Namely parties. Youth definitely seems wasted on Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever).
Described at the “female Superbad”, which ironically starred Feldstein’s brother, Jonah Hill, Booksmart is so much more than that. It’s a movie about two girls who are finding themselves – the right and the wrong about themselves, the right and wrong in perceptions of others, and learning that life is about so much more than existing.
It’s about living.
Wilde and the screenwriters of Booksmart (Katie Silberman, Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins and Susanna Fogel) aren’t aiming to reinvent the wheel of the genre. They instead are embracing it and tapping into the typical characters that we know, but also adding in characters that are typically missing from coming of age stories.
Booksmart doesn’t stop for a second with making you think about the way you perceive people. It does it in a fun, energetic way. But the best thing about Booksmart is the movie continuously feels as though it’s on the side of the characters. The movie genuinely wants them to succeed, even in the darkest of their moments.
Feldstein and Devers keep you captivated at every moment, rooting for their friendship and for each of them to get everything that they want. But the person that really steals every scene that she is in is Billie Lourd.
If you see one film this weekend, it should definitely be Booksmart. It’s not made me wish that I could return to high school, but it’s definitely made me think about the joys of life and friendship. It’s just that smart.