“BOOKSMART”— Changing Courses


Changing  Courses

Amos Lassen

“Booksmart”, Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is about two “foul-mouthed, angsty teenagers” who are determined to make  their last night before graduation one to be remembered. They  are at the top of their class, having spent the last four years focusing on their academics, to rise above their peers and succeed. After realizing that their classmates were able to have fun and get into the top universities, Molly (Beanie Feldstein)  now makes it her goal to attend a cool-kid party with her best friend, Amy (Kaitlyn Dever). In the midst of this emerging chaos, Amy beins coming to terms with her sexual identity and whether to pursue the skater girl her sights are set on, as she battles her vulnerability with a classmate.

“Booksmart” cleverly blends comedy and drama and we connect with the characters. The dynamic chemistry between Amy and Molly is a highpoint; they are one of the most believable duos in a while, and the actresses portraying them are alive and vivacious.  Without them there would be no movie. The play off of each other in natural ways with great timing and their mutual love and respect jumps off the screen. The supporting cast is also excellent.

This is a gratifying film about intelligent and sassy women and a fun coming-of-age tale for this generation of young adults. It is “charmingly lewd” and a nerd teenager coming-of-age comedy.

Amy is ta king a year off to live in Botswana to do humanitarian work before attending Columbia. Career-minded Molly plans to be at Yale studying law, as she follows her dream path to the Supreme Court. But for one night, the girls plan to let go and cram as much fun into their last school day as possible and see if they can make up for lost time. Their plan includes crashing a wild house party. At the party they take LSD and Amy throws up on a possible girlfriend (Victoria Ruesga) and Molly spends the night in jail.

The film nails it when depicting how the very bright but socially awkward girls might act out their pent up desires while partying with their coolest classmates. There’s nothing new here but it carries off its crazy antics in an entertaining way and pulls no punches.

“Booksmart” is a hilarious coming of age story for today’s generation  that is anchored by a compelling story of friendship told with a female perspective. The premise may not be new but the film ultimately lives or dies on the relatability of the main characters which may not be the same for everyone.

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