Booksmart (2019)
May 25, 2019 3:50 AM - Subscribe

On the eve of their high school graduation, two academic superstars and best friends realize they should have worked less and played more. Determined not to fall short of their peers, the girls try to cram four years of fun into one night.
posted by duffell (31 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

I have so many things to say. But I only have my spouse's smart phone this weekend, so I'll be saying it in lots of comments spread out over time.

This movie has been called a gender-swapped Superbad WHICH IS SO NOT RIGHT, first because this movie can stand on its own fucking feet, thank you, and second because a movie about boys and marketed to men and manchildren is inevitably going to be mean and petty and unnecessarily violent at various points. THIS MOVIE WAS WAY BETTER. It was so funny I couldn't breathe at various points, and it was relentlessly KIND throughout.

A million stars.
posted by duffell at 3:59 AM on May 25, 2019 [18 favorites]

This was fantastic.

And what a start for Olivia Wilde.
posted by gaspode at 5:12 PM on May 25, 2019 [4 favorites]

Such fun! The sleepover movie I wish I had in high school.

So many things about this were great, but I especially thought the loving way the movie-makers bestowed humanity on each member of that high school class was really quiet and striking.
posted by Zephyrial at 6:51 PM on May 25, 2019 [5 favorites]

I cannot stop smiling after seeing this movie. I want everyone I know to see this movie. I want everyone I don't know to see this movie.

I am too old to know if it has any chance of gaining traction with the youngs, but it feels like a Ferris Bueller for a new generation. Smart, funny, charming and hiding a deeper message about the power of friendship and bravery underneath it all.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:46 PM on May 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

This was such a fantastic movie!
posted by ellieBOA at 4:47 AM on May 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

I especially thought the loving way the movie-makers bestowed humanity on each member of that high school class was really quiet and striking.

HARD AGREE. The director clearly sees high schoolers as people first and foremost (which is sadly rare in popular culture). Nobody was one- or even two-dimensional.

The love and admiration the two mains have for each other was fucking beautiful and charming, and their constant one-upmanship of back-and-forth compliments? Gold. Comedy gold AND warm-fuzzies gold.
posted by duffell at 7:09 AM on May 26, 2019 [11 favorites]

Question for those who have seen it: Do you think this would be appropriate to watch with two (very sensitive) twin rising HS seniors? They are amazing girls who care WAY TOO MUCH about grades (just imho) and this seems like a fun opportunity to get to the movies together and show an appealing counterpoint to the "get straight As and ace your SATs or you're a failure as a person" messaging they've been internalizing. But I don't want to take them if it glorifies substance use/abuse or makes fun of anyone, if that makes sense.
posted by witchen at 7:47 PM on May 26, 2019 [3 favorites]

There is substance use but I wouldn't say it is glorified. The movie goes out of its way not to mock the usual targets of movie mockery.

That said, I would imagine most teens would be pretty mortified to watch the lesbian sex scene, such as it is, with an adult chaperone. Maybe if you are the cool cousin, but not if you are their mom.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:39 PM on May 26, 2019 [5 favorites]

Loved it. At first, when they found out that all of their classmates, or at least all of the ones that they talked to, got into top schools, I wondered which alternate dimension I was looking at, but then I realized that this was probably a middle-to-upper-middle-class-with-a-few-flat-out-rich neighborhood, probably in LA. (Especially hilarious given the college entrance scandal that's still playing out with celebrities--I wondered which of those kids might have gotten some "help" with admissions.) I started out wondering if I'd possibly get anything having to do with modern teenage girls, but I was pretty amazed at all the relatable bits, like the Big Fight that's so much worse because they're so close that they don't have any firewalls up (the sound going out was kind of a mercy, but at the same time didn't really blunt anything because you could see on their faces just how deep the wounds were getting), and even the parts that were still a little dubious, such as the doll scene (are there really drugs that would do that?) were still often hilarious.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:26 PM on May 26, 2019 [4 favorites]

Oh, this movie! Agree with all of the points made above; this was such a lovely, warm, funny, smart, hopeful movie. I thought the nods to other teen movies in the canon (like the bathroom sex scene made me think instantly of Can’t Hardly Wait) were perfection and I absolutely loved that the central romance in the movie was between two female friends.
posted by stellaluna at 10:59 PM on May 26, 2019

Another voice to the choir:
I .. uh ... went into it thinking/hoping I may enjoy it but also not expecting to be thoroughly entertained as I'm kind of a picky customer when it comes to comedies.

...But holy effing shit.
Fun, funny, kinetic, surprising, heartfelt, great soundtrack, with scenes that will stuck with me for the rest of the year. (The pool scene, just to name one, when Perfume Genius' Slip Away kicks in had me grinning from ear to ear, tears of joy, and then ...just tears.)

I know it's just May but this one's very likely to end up in my year's best.
posted by bigendian at 5:38 PM on May 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

OK, all have convinced me! I’m going to see this at the end of the week.
posted by bookmammal at 5:54 PM on May 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

I resent everything in my life that keeps me from seeing this movie once a day for the rest of my life.
posted by tangosnail at 12:19 PM on May 28, 2019 [8 favorites]

This was fucking great. Every bit of it was perfect.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:49 PM on June 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Everything above, plus the soundtrack.

Holy shit, the soundtrack.

What's that thing where you bunch your fingertips together, hold them to your lips and make a kissy noise to indicate something is perfect? That's using Slip Away when Amy watches Ryan undress and then dives into the pool.
posted by Gorgik at 4:04 AM on June 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

Chef's kiss!
posted by (Over) Thinking at 7:30 AM on June 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

A sweet, moving confection. I laughed so hard. I think it's in conversation with "Election" and "Legally Blonde" and --at least visually -- maybe "Brick". The "suddenly we are dolls" hallucination reminded me of "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" but better.

Everything with Amy in particular was just so GREAT. Her question about her role as a farmer. The pool dive, as y'all have mentioned. And I just DOUBLED OVER LAUGHING when she asked Ryan "would you also be afraid to go to Uganda.....?" -- probably my favorite joke in the whole movie, in a movie with many great jokes. Her desire to be of service, in contrast with Molly's desire to be in control, and the way that works and doesn't work in their friendship.

I wish I could have seen this with subtitles/captions on because I bet there were jokes I missed.

As soon as I knew Sarah Haskins was involved I knew I wanted to see this, because she earned my loyalty with "Target: Women" back in her Infomania days on Current TV, and I am so happy that way more people are getting to see her work!

(Also as soon as we found out how freaked out Molly was in the bathroom upon finding out these other teens would ALSO have good futures, I leaned over to my spouse and whispered "the parable of the laborers in the vineyard!!!")
posted by brainwane at 9:36 AM on June 2, 2019 [7 favorites]

I saw this yesterday and loved it. It's really good. I enjoyed even the smaller things, like when she's being made fun of in the bathroom it's clearly about her personality, and the doofus rich guys boat being empty of partiers, having more staff than actual people there.
posted by Carillon at 11:48 AM on June 2, 2019

At the police station there’s a lingering shot that has a twisted callback to the pizza delivery guy scene.

Isn't that how she busts Amy out? She trades info on the killer for Amy's release?
posted by jacquilynne at 2:57 PM on June 2, 2019 [6 favorites]

From the NYT article:

Her new movie, “Booksmart,” would be special enough to her because it is her directorial debut, but Wilde said it held further value. “It is remarkable that I am 35 years old and this is the first job I’ve ever had that wasn’t entirely dependent on and connected to my looks,” she said. “It grosses me out to acknowledge it, but I’ve been thinking a lot about it.”

I super loved this movie and am excited to see what Wilde does next. She is clearly talented behind the camera.
posted by hepta at 1:49 PM on June 12, 2019 [9 favorites]

I thought this movie was delightful. Excellent characters and cast.
posted by graventy at 4:14 PM on June 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

I had been waiting for weeks to watch this and I'm sad that it took me so long!

This was genius!

God, what a great movie. I'm gonna go watch it again.
posted by rachaelfaith at 11:55 AM on June 25, 2019

even the parts that were still a little dubious, such as the doll scene (are there really drugs that would do that?)

I assumed this was something like salvia which is very short-acting and then wears off really quickly, because otherwise... no, that was weird.

I loved this movie, and realized I'm still able to wince at high school awkwardness. I'd been enjoying Beanie Feldstein in What We Do In the Shadows so I checked this out.

Great soundtrack and casting overall. Fun to read about some of the backstory of this.
posted by jessamyn at 8:37 AM on July 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is on Hulu now! Yay!
posted by rewil at 12:15 PM on November 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh this was fun. I love it when the two friends gas each other up. All the rapidfire deadpan lines are so funny. Beanie Feldstein's charisma is a good fit to Kaitlyn Dever's sincere dorkiness.

It's hard to pick favorite bits. "I know where Queen Noor is from!" Or Nick guessing Molly sees herself as half Ravenclaw half Slytherin. But I was probably laughing most for the porn over the speakers part, the rare case of it being obvious what's going to happen and then it being way funnier than I thought it would be.
posted by fleacircus at 11:42 PM on December 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

Every moment of this movie was so classic. The way the guy throat-snarled during “You Oughta Know” karaoke was my favorite tiny moment. We blindly picked this movie to kickstart our New Year's resolution to watch actual movies instead of the same old streaming shows, and I am so glad we started off on such a high note.
posted by lilac girl at 8:08 PM on December 27, 2019


I'm not inclined toward nostalgia, so I found "Booksmart" a hilarious and well-crafted corrective to '80s teen movies: whole-hearted, connected awkwardness with a real generosity of spirit toward everybody, including the principal and the well-meaning parents, and the kids who could have been cliches, and every kid who tries too hard. Yes, they're a tribe of a certain place and time, but it it so much more expansive than the older version of "jock-princess-stoner can secretly bond," because everybody's operating from a much more tolerant baseline. The cattiness is mostly out in the open; is it gossip if you say it to someone's face? It contrasted so sharply with Amy and Molly's silenced fight--I could fill in the passionately honest assessments, the real sad anger, the vulnerability of being brave enough to say what was true about their dynamics because even in an amazingly verbal and performance-oriented world, these two are, at heart, sincere, and that, that, might be what made this movie work for me. That you can be sincere and work hard and serious-minded, and still need to open your heart to more ways of being. Amy and Molly are their own happy endings because of what they've allowed themselves to add to their understandings of how they and other people can exist in the world, and to stop using comparative judgment and dismissiveness as ego props--I mean, by the end, the first scene ("Visualize the mountain of your success, and look down at everyone who's ever doubted you....Fuck those losers. Fuck them in their stupid fucking faces.") is gleefully, hilariously eviscerated. [I mean, it's not like I think rich kids/adults will ever take this lesson on board, and we probably need to talk about money's role in this movie, but you know what? It's a fable of sorts, and its heart is going to outlast its clothing/slang/iPad in the gift bags.] This movie was not pitched to me, but I don't care--I enjoyed what it did to the teen movie format, appreciated the enormously funny and humane acting, and liked the way inflated drama is offset by the mundane (oh my God, George's hissing at his family, trapped in their kitchen playing a game! "I have the house until 11!"). The kids are all right.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:54 AM on December 29, 2019 [6 favorites]

This movie has been called a gender-swapped Superbad WHICH IS SO NOT RIGHT, first because this movie can stand on its own fucking feet, thank you, and second because a movie about boys and marketed to men and manchildren is inevitably going to be mean and petty and unnecessarily violent at various points. THIS MOVIE WAS WAY BETTER. It was so funny I couldn't breathe at various points, and it was relentlessly KIND throughout.

I finished Booksmart over the past weekend and it totally reminded me of Superbad in its plot structure so I queued it up right afterwards. I couldn't even make it past the first five minutes of it with all of the talk about penises and the objectification of women. It was totally mean and petty and I turned it off. I now need to rewatch Booksmart to re-relish in its creativity and kindness.
posted by urbanlenny at 2:57 PM on February 24, 2020 [3 favorites]

I cannot believe I waited an entire year to watch this beautiful, funny movie.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:44 PM on June 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

Just watched this tonight. I am madly jealous of teens today for getting movies like this when my generation had Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink and all that.
posted by orange swan at 9:33 PM on July 29, 2020 [4 favorites]

« Older Doom Patrol: Ezekiel Patrol...   |  RuPaul's Drag Race: Reunited... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments