Updated: Mar 17, 2021
Best friends Amy and Molly realize that they have been cast aside by their surroundings for being bookworms and pretentious. They decide to let loose and make up for the lost time.
It has become obvious to me, whilst writing my reviews, that a good handful of my all-time favourite films have amazing LGBTQ+ representation in them. Which brings me to the next film Booksmart. I had extremely low expectations going into this film as there was nothing else on in the cinema at the time this came out, 2019 when everything was semi-normal, and watched the trailer and thought: Huh. Okay. Sure.
The audience was relatively small and there wasn’t a huge aura of excitement once the trailers like the ones you sense at the end of big blockbuster films. An hour and 45 minutes later there were audible sobs heard from across the theatre. Sounds that also originated right next to me from my mother. Right there and then, I had experienced one of the best comedies I have ever seen. Olivia Wilde’s debut feature is astounding and bewildering. I say bewildering as I have never seen a film fully understand what it’s like to be young. The conversations, the awkwardness, the questions and the people.
A story that occurs over the course of two days, the audience tag along with the best friend duo of Molly and Amy as they try to recover their teenage lives when they realised that they have wasted them studying. It’s been labelled as the ‘feminist woke version of Superbad’ but I beg to give this a heart and soul of its own. The performances are so unbelievably natural as the chemistry between the entire ensemble gives this film a documentary-like perspective. This film feels like it exists in the real world simply due to how uniquely characterised all the characters are. The way that the plot reveals itself is in the form of short comedic skits all intertwined within each other to wrap up in a heart-warming finale. The LGBTQ+ characters here, especially our main protagonist Amy played by the talented Kaitlyn Deaver, are so poignant. I love the representation here due to the same reason that I loved The Handmaiden and The Favourite, because they are happy. Amy is a teenager and her being a lesbian is simply another part of her that makes her identity. It is not about the struggles and the inner conflict but simply a gay teenager being a teenager. I find her performance admirable to any questioning teens out there as she plays Amy with a hypnotic confidence with her identity and sexuality.
The world and people surrounding her is also crafted beautifully and with empathy, all thanks to director Olivia Wilde. Other standout performances would be Noah Garvin playing George and Diana Shi Luvers playing Hope. I would name every character if I could due to how well they are written. The film has a beating heart surrounded by a body with no judgement and humour running through its veins. A perfect mixture of everything done right in a coming-of-age film which I can bet will become a future indie classic. I would describe the best place to watch this is at a sleepover with a bunch of your friends as this film mimics the exact feeling of comfort. All hands are raised for Olivia Wilde supremacy.
(After watching the film I would recommend watching ‘Amy gay panicking for four minutes straight’ on youtube just to top it off: https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=Gwk5J7psnlc&list=PLm2_Xg3f_EYDVDDob83PyIJIqIet2V1Kb&index=515 )