Coming of age movies have been around for decades. Most of these movies are centered around young men. Female characters in these films are usually limited in both the number of characters and their ability to grow beyond a basic character type.
In the new movie, Booksmart, Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) are best friends who are about to graduate high school. The last four years have been all work and no play for the girls. Operating with the belief that their classmates are more interested in the social aspects of high school than the academic aspects of high school, Molly and Amy are shocked to hear that they are not the only ones who prioritize school work.
Wanting to make up for the last four years in one night, the girls decide to make the night a memorable one.
Directed by actor Olivia Wilde (making her directing debut) and written by four female writers, this film takes the basic buddy comedy/coming of age film and elevates it to a new level. Taking the place of traditional male leads, Molly and Amy are intelligent, determined and political without hitting the audience over the head. They are also honest and have a bit of a potty mouth, which works perfectly for these characters and their narrative.
The film also speaks to the oh sh*t moment that most, if not all us realize the night before we are to graduate high school. Our lives are about to change, the four years that we thought would last forever went by in a flash. It is a reminder (though we may not be cognizant at the time), that life goes by fast. Stopping to smell the roses wouldn’t hurt every once in a while.
I recommend it.
Booksmart is presently in theaters.