Booksmart (2019)

From IMDb: “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.”

What I liked:

  • This is a deep, smartly-written film featuring multi-dimensional characters.
  • It’s also listed as a “comedy”, but it’s not really a comedy. It’s more of a quirky-drama with humorous characters in my opinion. Think more “Edge of Seventeen” and “Lady Bird”.
  • It felt like a very real movie with real characters.
  • I like how it draws on the idea of friendship, control, academia, pretension and humility.
  • The beginning of the movie is SO fast paced that it turned me off the first time I watched it. But the second time I watched it made me appreciate those first 5-10 minutes because it spent that time quickly introducing us to all the major characters and anything after that was pure, well-paced story.
  • There’s this one sequence that is done in one long take that not only allows the two main characters to deal with something but it also allows the background to contribute to the emotions within that sequence. I also like how the music coming in and overtaking the dialog really added more emotions to the visuals. Too many movies nowadays allow dialog to tell the story, which is bad. Movies are a visual medium, and if you can’t tell a story visually, then you’re not doing your job correctly.

What I didn’t like:

  • I thought the characters of the parents were unnecessary and just glorified cameos. They brought nothing to the overall story.
  • This bit is NOT the movie’s fault, but the MPAA rating for the movie states it’s “Rated R for strong sexual content and language throughout, drug use and drinking – all involving teens” but I’ve seen the movie twice now and don’t feel like those instances are as prominent as that statement would have you believe. Yes, there are sequences where characters discuss things of a sexual nature. Yes, there is one nudity-less “sex scene” and any drug use (that you don’t even really see) is truly played for laughs. I feel like I saw a completely different movie than the one the MPAA is saying I saw. That rating could’ve been the reason why this movie was so overlooked. It made very little money, and people could’ve been turned off by that rating, making them miss out on a wonderful, heartfelt character study. That rating puts this movie into “Superbad” territory, but honestly it’s smarter, better-focused and less-crude than Superbad.

Overall: My favorite movie of 2019. Smart, fun, emotional, sincere, well-made. It is currently streaming on Hulu.

Jose Zuazua is editor-in-chief of Quick Lunch Break Reviews. He has an associates degree in film production. He’s on Twitter and Instagram, and is also currently writing his first short novel.

Editor’s note: I usually post the trailer here, but I think the trailer is quite misleading towards the overall tone of the movie. See the movie, avoid the trailer, ignore the rating (unless you’re a kid, this is still a movie for grown-ups and late-teens)

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