Olivia Wilde Delivers with "Booksmart"
“Booksmart” is about two feminist high school overachievers, Molly and Amy, who realize they spent their whole time in high school studying and not partying like the rest of their classmates. They decide to attend a popular kids’ party on the night before graduation, so they can say they did both study and party in high school. Throughout the night, we see the two girls get in the craziest situations, just so they can say they went to the graduation party.
Molly (Beanie Feldstein) is the valedictorian and senior class president. She is atense and driven young woman, who is striving to achieve greatness like her female idols Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Malala. Molly convinces her best friend Amy (Kaitlyn Dever), a hopeless lesbian, that she needs to go to this graduation party to finally get with her crush. Kaitlyn Dever portrays Amy as a tiny, quirky, baby queer that just wants to successfully interact with her crush. I definitely relate to Amy’s character: a useless lesbian that does not know how to interact with pretty girls if my life depends on it.
“Booksmart” was directed by first-time director and bisexual icon and actress, Olivia Wilde. Wilde’s directorial debut she does not disappoint, with a high-quality screenplay from four female writers and great directing. Women will walk out of the movie feeling empowered, supported, and wanting to uplift other women.
Throughout this movie, we meet outrageous, but fully developed characters. We get to laugh at Amy’s overly supportive parents played by Lisa Kudrow and Will Forte, who believe the best friends are dating and are super accepting and cool with their “love.” The concept of parents being encouraging of their queer teen is still a new concept in media, so it was refreshing to see how much they care for Amy. With Jason Sudeikis as the school principal and openly gay actor Noah Galvin playing George, a student that runs the theater program at school there is non-stop laughter. George is hilarious, but Gigi (Billie Lourd) is a breakout character that steals the movie every time she is on the screen. Every character in the movie is fun to watch and empowering and that goes to show the importance of talented female screenplay writers.
Not only is this a great overall movie, a huge plus is that there is a tiny gay that you can’t help but root for. Amy does not know how to function when a cute girl is around, but it makes her character even more realistic and endearing. “Booksmart” is not a coming out story, but a story about what happens after you come out. It delves into the topics such as how do you know if a girl is gay, and how do you talk to a girl without making a fool of yourself? I think the film did a great job of dealing with these topics in a light-hearted way without making it feel like it was a subplot or just fan service. “Booksmart” was the first comedy that made me laugh all the way through without unnecessary pauses for overly dramatic plotlines and life lesson speeches. This upbeat off the wall movie will make you leave the theater with your cheeks hurting from laughing, however, it doesn’t miss out on the message it is trying to tell. “Booksmart” made me feel nostalgic for the cult classic teen comedies that I watched over and over growing up, quoted at lunch tables, and watched at sleepovers. That movie for me was “Mean Girls” and I totally believe this generation just found that movie in “Booksmart.”