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Read: Booksmart is a coming of age film worth a look

You might think a teenage coming of age movie is something I’d avoid, and ordinarily you’d be right. However a recent sojourn to see Booksmart taught me not to prejudge the genre.

Ok, it’s not the best film I’ve ever seen, but it’s funny and both the main characters are women, and one of them is a lesbian. Now that’s not something you see in your typical Hollywood teen flick.

The plot is pretty simple – Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) are best friends, very smart and socially awkward. Molly is class President and bossy, while Amy is starting to explore her sexuality and is fairly repressed. Both have gotten into the best Universities by focussing only on school work and never partying. 

On the eve of graduating from high school, they discover to their horror that their fellow class mates have all managed to score top colleges despite slacking off and doing the things teenagers do. The girls decide to have one night of decadence to make up for years of wasted time. 

The result is a hilarious as they encounter the world of adolescent parties and the temptations of drugs, sex and alcohol. Inevitably there is a car chase of sorts and plenty of embarrassing moments. 

On the negative side, Booksmart is fairly contrived, the kids are a little too smooth at times and the whole film is perhaps too woke – for example I don’t think Amy’s lesbianism would be so totally accepted by everyone.

But of course it is a comedy not a social commentary, and it does have some genuinely touching moments. The cast is great, and Feldstein and Dever make a slick comedic double act. Despite being a female centric film it should appeal to guys as well.


In New Zealand cinemas 25th July 2019 

105 Minutes

Director: Olivia Wilde 

Starring: Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Jessica Williams, Lisa Kudrow, Will Forte, Jason Sudeikis


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