Booksmart Film Review: Setting Aside the Textbooks, Living in the Moment

    Amy and Molly seem to always fade into the background. They work behind the scenes, get good grades, spend weekends at the library, and get excited by the idea of keeping in touch with their teachers after graduation.

    But the best friends begin to question their choices when they see their less than dedicated peers receiving their acceptance letters to prestigious universities, despite their free time that reeks of beer and is clouded by pipe smoke.

    Now set on enjoying their last moments of adolescence, both girls embark on a journey full of drunk teens, questionable teachers who drive Ubers, and final opportunities to express their love for those around them.  

    Booksmart begins with word of Nick’s end of year rager spreading through the senior class. As a result, Molly becomes dedicated to going and breaking past her and Amy’s reputation—finally setting aside their textbooks and living in the moment.

    From a yacht party gone awry to catching a ride to a wild party with an English teacher, Booksmart both laughs at and embraces the freedom of being a teen, the awkward encounters that come with any high school experience, the importance of friendship, and the lasting effect of having your “ride or die” by your side for those secret crushes and dark secrets.

    I found Booksmart to be wholly authentic, often crude, and perfectly hilarious. Amy and Molly’s friendship is so relatable as they navigate the burden of having to be apart for college, the distance that comes with romance getting in the way, and the silly arguments that often arise. While Booksmart often relied on cliche elements—borderline offensive portrayal of various high school stereotypes—and used over the top and semi-unrealistic elements to prolong the outrageous nature of the girls’ adventure, the film remains lighthearted and heartfelt, something that hasn’t appeared on the big screen lately.

    While Booksmart may not make it as a front-runner during award season, the escapism and pure humor that this film provides is unforgettable. I found it nearly impossible to go even five minutes in this movie without completely bursting out in laughter; I’m certain moviegoers, both young and old, will feel the same.

    Amy and Molly have one last chance to preserve their high school memories and defy the labels they have received from their peers, but at what cost? They will test their friendship, evaluate their post-high school plans, and see their peers for who they really are, preconceptions aside. Booksmart delivers a frank and constantly entertaining narrative about growing up and the fear of letting go of childhood.

     

    Joshua Flores currently lives in Tustin, CA, and attends Arnold O. Beckman High School. When he is not busy doing homework or cramming for math tests, he can be found dreaming up ideas for his book, obsessing over YA fiction, attending book signings, or discovering new and exciting places in LA. He is currently an editor for the Entertainment section of The Beckman Chronicle and a contributing editor for the blog Food, Fitness and Fiction. Follow him on Instagram and on the blog Food, Fitness and Fiction to hear more about anything book related.

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