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REVIEW: Coming-of-age comedy Booksmart a refreshingly clever romp

Amy (Dever) and Molly (Feldstein) are high school best friends and academic superstars who, the day before graduation, realise they should’ve spent their high school years having a bit more fun.

Determined to cram everything they feel they’ve missed into one night, they set out to have the night of their lives.

Should I watch it?

I went into this movie ready for just another silly teen comedy about a couple of nerdy girls who, after one night of partying, will realise the error of their ways and be forever lost to unrealised potential.

Oh, how wrong I was.

Instead, I spent the next 142 minutes completely engaged by this wonderfully fresh and modern take on what it is to be a nerdy girl in today’s world.

The central relationship, between Amy and Molly, is a thing of beauty. These girls are unapologetically who they are. They are smart, strong, nerdy girls who strive to achieve, not only academically, but to empower themselves and other women along the way.

And the best thing of all is that doesn’t change by the end of the movie.

Yep, you read that right.

They never relinquish who they are to satisfy others. Much like their feminist movie sister Elle Woods from 2001’s Legally Blonde, the girls experience change and growth, but always remain true to themselves.

And that brings me to my next point. Not one single character is asked to change or redefine themselves for a pleasing plot twist or long held romantic interlude, which is sadly often the case.

Throughout the movie, we see characters exposed and layers peeled away, but it reinforces that, like onions, teenagers, are not simple one-dimensional creatures. There is no jock, no nerd, no basket case (Sorry John Hughes, just suck it up!)

Booksmart is a refreshingly funny, clever and smart movie. The language used by the two leads, and most of the other characters, is positive and inclusive. They build themselves and each other up. There are no mean girls here. There is no tearing down of another woman, even under the (usually misdirected) guise of building her back up again.

Directed with love, care and I daresay a devilish glint in her eyes by first time director Olivia Wilde, Booksmart is much more than it seems.

It is a feminist manifesto for millennials, and I would wager money that in a decade or so, it will be used as a reference for that moment in time when nerdy girls were just nerdy girls.

No assembly required.

4 1/2 stars

Running Time:  102 minutes

Release Date :  in cinemas now

Who is in it: Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Jessica Williams, Skyler Gisondo, Diana Silvers, Molly Gordon, Billie Lourd

Written by Sue Ellen

Copywriter. Writer. Reviewer. Coffee addict. Handbag tragic. Conspiracy tin hatter. Drama Queen.

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