DIRECTOR: olivia wilde (debut)
STARRING: kaitlyn dever, beanie feldstein, jason sudeikis, and lisa kudrow
REVIEWER: nick tonkin
On the eve of their high school graduation, two academic superstars and best friends suddenly realize that they should have worked less and played more. Determined never to fall short of their peers, the girls set out on a mission to cram four years of fun into one night.
Booksmart is a coming-of-age comedy directed by Olivia Wilde, her feature directorial debut. The movie is centered on two high school girls at the eve of graduation. Amy and Molly (Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein) are best friends and high achievers at school.
With Molly’s place at Yale secured and Amy’s at Georgetown after a summer in Botswana, their futures are bright with their hard work at school having paid off. Though after an encounter with some other students, Molly realizes that many people that partied too hard and didn’t have the dedication to school like she did also got in to good schools - leading to the epiphany that she and Amy need to go to a party before the end of the last day; lest they be the girls who tried too hard and had no fun at school.
Booksmart is incredibly funny, while also being sharp, biting and at times poignant in its exploration of Amy and Molly’s friendship. The fantastic writing also provides many hilarious moments, especially with the characters Gigi providing preposterous and George the campiness that Booksmart makes fine use of.
Dever and Feldstein are excellent leads and are both the keystone in this already brilliant movie, the strength of their performances here surely will propel them into high places; their ability to be convincing in both comedic and dramatic moments is difficult to overstate. Combined with the talent of first-time director Olivia Wilde, whose efforts here will make other aspiring directors green with envy, they make Booksmart an essential coming-of-age movie of our time.
Hilarious, affecting and very clever, Booksmart is an absolute must see.