Director: Olivia Wilde
Release Date: May 24th 2019
In her directorial debut, Olivia Wilde struck gold with Booksmart. A modern day coming-of-age movie. Booksmart addresses a range of issues we see in 2019, from feminism to sexual orientation, and tells its story through the social dynamics of high school, much like Dazed and Confused did, or, on the college scene, Everybody Wants Some!! The feeling of not being hip enough to fit in or not “cool” enough to hang out with a certain group of people is something at some point we’ve all felt before. In Booksmart, these feelings aren’t forced, unlike the way they feel in other coming-of-age movies, which usually feature a football jock or bitchy cheerleader. Booksmart is smarter than that.
Olivia Wilde made the movie as if she was in high school herself. The dialogue and characters are brilliant. Every conversation felt authentic and natural. Booksmart does have much of the same concepts of those before it. Such as “the cool kid.” He’s played by Ryan Goodling, who stars as Nick, the hottest guy in school and student vice president because of popularity. Nick is exactly what being popular in high school looks like. This is how Olivia Wilde separates Booksmart from other movies. It’s through the supporting characters. Nick isn’t seen as a douchebag or all-state letter jacket-wearing quarterback. Instead, he is shown how kids in high school are seen: a bit of jackass, a tad reckless and carefree. The subtleness of his character makes the movie that much more enjoyable.
As for Kailyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein there performance’s tie the project all together. Dever plays Amy, the more reserved of the two best friends. Amy is someone who is completely comfortable being herself. Molly (Feldstein) on the other hand is the opposite. Molly is the more outspoken of the two. Throughout the night Molly is always seeking more. Molly is set and stone on making memories before they both leave for college.
Booksmart is the story of the two high school geniuses trying to find the perfect party to attend. Like all classic coming of age stories this movie takes place in a single night. The movie also gives an updated version of the high school stereotype’s. Clearly Molly and Amy aren’t just “nerds. “ While the other characters show us that the “cool guy” Isnt always a football star.
It will be in interesting see what Wilde does next. The actress, activist, and now filmmaker has proven to have many talents. For Olivia Wilde Booksmart is the type of project that blended these perfectly.