Finally! A coming-of-age movie for “Booksmart” people

Erica Navarette

“Booksmart” (2019), Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut, is arguably one of this generation’s most prolific coming-of-age comedies. It stars Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein (Jonah Hill’s sister!) who play Amy and Molly, respectively. This punchy comedy mainly follows the two graduating seniors who, upon finding out that the “popular” party kids got accepted into the same Ivy Leagues as them, realize that they didn’t fulfill certain Teenage Rites of Passage, in lieu of working hard to get an upper hand, academically. Amy and Molly, unsettled by the fact that they may have missed out on the best of both worlds, decide that they’ll make up for four diligent years in one night of partying– the night before graduation.

There’s a lot to love about “Booksmart”. As a known sucker for coming-of-age stories, I hold “Booksmart” very near and dear to my heart, as it examines different aspects of transitioning into a different stage of life through the lens of characters who mirror myself, along with thousands of other teenage girls growing up in 2010’s suburban America. It’s filled to the brim with pop culture references, and of course, no coming-of-age movie is complete without Alanis Morissette karaoke. The movie has subtle commentary on politics and sporadically contemplates the pertinent issues to this generation; it definitely sways to the left on the spectrum. The only bone I have to pick with this is that the references to “woke” teenage culture seem a bit hamfisted.

Though it seems as if “Booksmart” is directed to a specific audience (uhhh Gen-X leftists?), its brilliant dialogue and comedic timing allow for it to be enjoyable to most audiences. The character development throughout the film is notable and is certainly supported by the cast’s authentic performances. The characters are more than the usual high school stereotypes: jock, nerd, skater, square, whatever. They’re multidimensional and serve as versatile tools to plot development.