On the eve of high school graduation Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) realise that they might have focused a little too hard on academics and not enough on partying. Especially as all those who took it easy are getting into college anyway. Determined to prove they can party as hard as they study they set out on a night to remember.
Booksmart is the directorial debut of actress Olivia Wilde, probably most famous for her appearance in Tron: Legacy as well as a large number of interesting small indie films. It is also, like Jonah Hill’s directorial debut mid90s earlier this year a brilliantly assured coming of age film. Set in the here and now rather than a point in time specific to Wilde it follows two young women determined to make their mark on the world.
Booksmart is a brilliant film that immediately calls to mind the seminal Dazed and Confused. It’s the last day of High School and kids are looking to party. Cue a pilgrimage across three very different parties, a huge array of kids from different cliques all getting along (a wish fulfilment story if ever there was one in the coming of age tale) and a constant stream of hilarious moments. The girls friendship will be challenged, drugs will be dabbled with, alcohol consumed, sexual awakenings will happen and it will all be done to great tunes.
What makes it work so well is the steady stream of humour, great chemistry from Dever and Feldstein and nailing that feel good vibe of nostalgia and jealousy that coming of age stories have.