Following its premiere at South by Southwest 2019, comedy Booksmart is distributed by United Artists Releasing. Only one day away from graduating high school, Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) are content that their focus on school work instead of partying has paid off where university places are concerned. However, they are shocked to learn that their more irresponsible party-going kids are going to good universities too. Realising that they have one last chance to let their hair down and prove that they are fun, Molly persuades Amy that they need to go to the great big end of high school house party.
- Olivia Wilde proves to be an outstanding talent behind the camera in her directorial debut, her vision clear throughout the film and her direction nuanced and sharply executed.
- A smart, mature and (with a couple of exceptions, see the CONS section) consistently funny screenplay which presents a fresh and very honest take on the high school experience, examining enduring friendship and a person’s need to understand and be confident in their own identity at what is a confusing period of life.
- What works very well is that there are no high schoolers here who are protagonists or antagonists, as they are all multilayered individuals, whose motivations behind their behaviour is understandable.
- An outstanding ensemble cast, with all of the young actors proving themselves to be talents to watch out for, but none more so than Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever.
- Intimate use of close-ups, and well-executed use of both handheld cameras and point-of-view shots during the party scenes by cinematographer Jason McCormick.
- There are a couple of gross-out gags which miss the mark and feel shoehorned in, while the film’s final ending does feel quite abrupt.