Film Review: Booksmart

You’re either labelled book smart or street smart – but who says you can’t be both?


The Synopsis
Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) are thrilled to be graduating high school at the top of their class, as well as having ivy league colleges secured for the Fall. But what Molly didn’t expect, is to hear that the classmates she had labelled ne’er-do-well’s who would amount to nothing post graduation… actually have plans that rival her own.

With one last official night as a high school student, Molly is determined to live like her peers; have fun and run wild. Pretty much joint at the hip anyway, it wouldn’t be a night to remember without Amy right by her side.


The Good
As far as coming of age movies go, this was pretty good.

It felt appropriately modernised both in the sense of character depiction and cultural relevancy. Nobody made a single comment about Amy being a lesbian and it was refreshing that it didn’t automatically come with a footnote.

Amy and Molly had an incredibly envious friendship (which you need as a ‘love to hate but really just jealous’ angle in these kinds of movies) and the actresses, Kaitlyn Dever (Last Man Standing) Beanie Feldstein (Lady Birdreally let that closeness come through. When I was doing my post-movie research I completely forgot that the two women weren’t friends in real life. That’s how bloody good of a job they did. 

They were weird, (mostly) confident with who they were, and I believe realistic to what encompasses those classed as Generation Z.

Shout out to my favourite scene: The Swimming Pool Scene. The visuals were stunning, the music was perfection and the sound design on point. But most importantly, the way Amy’s current feeling of happiness, contentment and hope, in that moment, was able to seep through from the screen to me, was just magical.

I’m not saying that there needs to be a sequel, but what I am saying, is that I would very much like to see these two characters again.

Booksmart - Nick

The Bad
This is me being pernickety, but certain characters did feel like caricatures of themselves. I could very well be wrong as I never attended an American High School – but in particular, the “camp drama kids” were more reminiscent of something out of a 90’s or parody movie than anything I would expect to see a contemporary drama. I enjoyed the character, but it was out of place in the movie as a whole.

Though I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Jessica Williams in this movie as a teacher, her arc felt unnecessary, followed by lazy. It’s like they thought; we like her let’s bring her back for more… erm now that she’s here what do we do with her? For me, her actions didn’t feel true in the later part of the movie, to the character we were first introduced to.

Booksmart had a running time of 105 minutes and though it’s not that long, there were points that the movie dragged. Mostly this consisted as we were waiting for the next catastrophe, or for the climax of the movie.


The Conclusion
There really isn’t too much to say in terms of a conclusion to Booksmart. It was a watchable movie that hit all the right points when they needed to be hit. The odd surprising moments occurred, and the predictable ones were still sweet and laughable. It was a good movie, that accomplished what it set out to do, and you can’t fault it on that front.


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