Review: Booksmart (2019)

Director: Olivia Wilde
Screenwriters: Susanna Fogel, Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Katie Silberman
Starring: Beanie Feldstein, Kaitlyn Dever, Jessica Williams, Billie Lourd, Lisa Kudrow
Genre: Comedy
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong sexual content and language throughout, drug use, and drinking – all involving teens
Release Dates: 5/24/19 (Wide Theatrical); 8/20/19 (Disc/Streaming–Hulu)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Some people have been calling Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut the “female Superbad,” which is ironic because co-lead Beanie Feldstein is the younger sister of Superbad star Jonah Hill, but Booksmart is so much more than that. Wilde and her team of screenwriters have crafted a hilarious, poignant, and wholly unique coming-of-age film that is primarily focused on the relationship between two female soon-to-be high school graduates.

Sure, there is romance and romantic confusion, partying, and the like, but because the characters are so well-drawn with noticeable flaws, the film remains clever and innovative.

Wilde cast two wildly talented leads in Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, whose characters are so different from one another, and yet you can see how they became such close friends. Then there’s the surprisingly terrific Billie Lourd (Carrie Fisher’s daughter), who steals every scene she’s in. Dever’s character’s sexuality is handled very well and believably so; the mere fact that she is already an out lesbian makes this film a cut above the rest. 

A-

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