Booksmart (2019): Film Review
Every generation has their own take on the "senior year of high school flick", where young adults learn to take risks and do crazy things to find out who they are, and what they are meant to do in this world. The film cliche has become a mainstay of cinema through the years, and won't be going away anytime soon, due to the heavy amount of cash that the sub-genre actually brings in. For me, these movies have always felt overrated, almost as if the filmmakers only cared about getting the laughs out of the audience, sacrificing the plot in the process to make all of this possible. Contrary to popular demand, the cult classic Superbad failed to make a lasting impression on me, one of the film critic decisions that I still get made fun of for to this very day. But, after a long search into looking for the senior year movie that could define our crazy generation, I have finally located one movie, so bold and daring, that just might go down in history as the high school flick to remember: and it comes in Olivia Wilde's directorial debut Booksmart. The film tells the story of two by-the-books ladies, who sacrifice their entire high school social experience with one definite goal in mind: getting into good colleges. After all of this is said and done, the two are shocked to learn that all of the other kids (the ones who stayed up all night partying) also got into these same schools. In attempts to cope with this news, the two decide that they must relieve these four years by stuffing all of high school into one night, leading to an absolutely bonkers night in Los Angeles involving a little bit of everything you can think of. Yes, it is a cliche sounding plot, but the true genius of the story comes in the way Wilde and the screenwriters handle this ever-so-familiar plot. The film is absolutely hilarious, and it is able to accomplish a feat that most films of its stereotype cannot: it can balance comedy and plot in a yin-yang style structure, with not too much of one or the other. The plot is beautifully told and written, and is able to strike emotions when the film deems it necessary, while also being able to make the audience laugh at any given moment. The film is full of absolutely stunning shots, and a perfect soundtrack to back it up, merely proving that Olivia Wilde is more than just an actress in the world of film, she is an absolute force when seated behind the director's chair. The casting is absolutely perfect, as the two leads deliver amazing performances in their roles, backed up by a cast of fresh young faces that do a perfect job of mimicking the style and vibe of a normal high school in 2019. Perhaps best of all, and most influential, Booksmart uses the generation it resides in to its complete advantage, creating a movie that will feel just as fresh both now and years from now. It is funny, it is sad, and most importantly, it is beautiful. I walked into this movie with strikingly high expectations and I wasn't disappointed for a single second. Now if that doesn't show how great of a film this is, I don't know what will.