Director: Olivia Wilde
Starring: Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Billie Lourd
Runtime: 1 hr 42 mins
What It Is: Soon-to-be high school graduates Molly (Feldstein) and Amy (Dever) are “book smart”: responsible, intelligent, and at the top of their class. Or so they think until, upon an awkward confrontation, Molly finds that she and Amy could have focused on being the best at everything AND having the time of their lives, going to parties, making out, and experimenting during high school. On the last night before graduation, they strike out and drift from party to party in search of their class’s big house party attended by their crushes.
What We Think: I was interested in seeing this movie, but boy did this come out of the left field. Literally the funniest movie I’ve seen in years, and certainly, one of the funniest, best coming-of-age movies of all time, Booksmart made me cry tears of laughter. Really. The movie made me eff up my makeup. That hasn’t happened in a long time.
That being said, it really makes sense. The components that make this lively romp are near-perfect—the cast is brilliant, with its shining leads uncompromisingly uncensored in a vulgar yet charismatic light; the supporting cast is just as hilarious and just as endlessly watchable. Smart and doesn’t let up with the jokes, the writing for these characters is amazing—all of them distinguished, memorable, flawed (in a realistic, human sense), and amazing to watch. It’s an impressive juggle of a special sort of keen humor both spoken and seen but also the heartfelt earnestness of the characters and tone that make for a comedic and (for some) affecting cinematic feast. That, plus the performances, plus a rather smooth and personality-stuffed editing and visual style make for the most joyful viewing experience, one of the best I’ve had all year next to Hail Satan and the Beach Bum. The down-to-earth directing on Wilde’s part is so much more than I ever expected and I am so looking forward to any future projects she has in store.
Our Grade: A+, A motivated, trope-shattering, full of life, funny, off-the-wall quirky, stimulating, and lovable ride about a sweet friendship—this is your next big watch if you want a good time at the movies. Everything plays off so naturally—even the reoccurring gags—it’s the opposite of obnoxious. I did; now I’m just waiting for the DVD to come out so I can keep watching it forever. This movie’s on fire.