Booksmart Review

1 Jun

There are several really beautiful threads in here, one involving Kaitlyn Dever’s Amy and her exploration of her sexuality. The film is so respectful and affirming of her complicated emotional journey, in a way that teen comedies oftentimes aren’t. The other thread is the bedrock of the film: Amy and Beanie Feldstein’s Molly and the unconditional love and support that bind the two together. Again, the film is so loving and affirming and so unabashedly in love with this friendship, and you really do feel every ecstatic high and painful low. Both actors are wonderful – Dever in particular has been on the “needs to become a star” list since Justified, and I’m glad it’s happening.

Where the film struggles a bit is in all the fluff around Amy and Molly. I get that they’re trying to show how wacky and wild everyone is and trying to play off comedic contrasts, but it’s fairly repetitive and doesn’t quite land all the time. At times it almost feels like the supporting characters are driving the plot rather than the main characters, whose story gets a bit lost in the shuffle. The supporting characters all manage to feel so different yet so much the same. It all begins to crystallize more as the end of the film approaches, but the style can get grating and the humor outside of the leads remains pretty hit or miss. That being said, Wilde does a great job directing and everyone involved is having a blast, so it’s hard not to enjoy it. And again, where it really shines is allowing its main characters to be everything and anything at once, without judgment and with an unwavering desire to see them thrive.



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