Booksmart Review


Although typically recognized for starring in films, Olivia Wilde, director of the 2019 film, “Booksmart,” has reached a new audience with this coming-of-age movie about two high school students destined to make up for their four years of no partying, just studying with one final night of fun.

“Booksmart” was originally released in 2019, but I didn’t watch the film until two years later when it was recommended to me by a friend. Based solely on the recommendation that this was the greatest modern high school movie ever, my expectations for “Booksmart” were very high. However, after watching the trailer, the expectations I gathered of the film from friends were lowered quite a bit.

I felt as though the trailer doesn’t encapsulate or fully focus on the film’s true meaning but instead focuses solely on the sexual nature of one of the main characters. To me, the film is about the inner workings of student life and spending your four years of high school trying to find a good balance between studying and creating (and maintaining) a social life, and I felt as though that was only a small part of the trailer.

The movie itself was pretty good. There are so many dynamics of this movie that contribute to its 96% Rotten Tomatoes rating. First is the budding friendship between the main characters, Molly and Amy. Throughout the film, we see how both girls are uniquely driven- Amy through her passion for humanities by attending protests for numerous issues. Also, her initiative to spend the summer in Botswana and Molly through her position as class president and her future years at Yale University- and how both assume this role of the “empowered female.” It is not difficult to see that their friendship is at the core of both characters, which is why their big (verbal) fight scene holds so much weight.

The fight scene specifically was one of the bigger moments that was so realistic. Because both characters spent so much time in this idea that grades and studying were all that mattered, their differences shined when thrown into a social aspect, causing one to see the other as selfish or unmotivated without realizing the severity of the situation.

One aspect that I didn’t expect but truly adored in the movie was the idea of labels and how they are demeaning and misrepresentative. For Molly and Amy, their labels were the brainiacs; and of course, you had characters presuming the role of the athletes, the thespians, the cool kids, and the hipsters. One character in particular, referred to in the movie as “Triple A” is known around the school for her sexual endevours and it seems as though this nickname doesn’t bother her. Towards the end of the movie, we see her character’s vulnerability when she reveals that her nickname became known for something extreme. She would inside prefer to be known by her actual name and who she is as a person- someone that, just like Molly, worked hard enough to go to Yale.

The concept itself is genius. I think that each of us at some point debated if we made the right decisions about where we were committing our time and to what because maybe we spent too much time in one club or extracurricular and not enough time doing anything else; I know I have. I think a film like this was needed to show that in any situation of life, even as common as the high school experience, everyone feels regret in one way or another. The movie gives the audience a happy ending with friends Molly and Amy and their life pursuits, but I wish there was a better resolution to this feeling that we didn’t live the fullest life we could’ve. I felt that part of the movie just ended, and the conclusion was “better luck in this next stage of life.”

“Booksmart” is currently streaming on Hulu.