The day before graduation, best friends and academic overachievers Molly and Amy are struck by the devastating regret that they never partied during high school. Not once. With the same focus and follow-through that allowed them to ace their AP courses, they set out to make for all that lost time in just one epic night.
Directed by Olivia Wilde from a script penned by female screenwriters, Booksmart is stylish, colorful, playful, funny and fresher than fresh in its cultural references. It was a thrill for this female viewer to see girls in all the main roles, handling with aplomb the traditional responsibilities of the teen movie’s protagonist: taking the risk, making the first move, standing up and saving the day. The fact that one of the main characters (Amy) is a lesbian makes the film’s big step forward in diverse representation even bigger.
It’s true that Booksmart sometimes lingers in the shallows when you’d prefer it to dive deep. And some directorial flights of fancy fell flat for me. But in exploring the female friendship that is the heart of the story, this movie tracks satisfyingly. Molly and Amy’s relationship is the story’s engine, moving the two characters ever forward—sometimes very much against their wishes—into their dreams, fears, and futures.
All the actors, from newcomers Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein to pros veterans Lisa Kudrow, Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte, turn in wonderful performances. Grab your BFF and go see it.