Booksmart @Sydney Film Festival

Have you ever laughed so hard that your insides hurt? Well if not I would recommend going to see Booksmart directed by Olivia Wilde. This coming-of-age comedy has just the right amount of weird and relatable, it connects to a place of real life whilst also taking you off on a cinematic adventure with plenty of entertainment value.

On the eve of their high school graduation academic overachievers Amy and Molly suddenly realise that they may have missed out on the special moments of their teenage years by being too invested in homework. Determined to make up for lost time, the best friends decide to cram four years of fun into one night. What could go wrong?

I have to be blunt for a moment; this film was hilarious. It tackled icky subjects without being too crass, was feminist and female conscious without bashing you over the head with it, and allowed everyone in the room to laugh openly about things that they probably thought they’d suppressed from high school. Experiencing a comedy in a cinema surrounded by people who are laughing as hard, if not harder, than you is such a positive and enriching experience. The best thing about this film was how I experienced it and ultimately I think it made me enjoy it more. What’s more uplifting than an entire room full of laughter?

Even with the fantastic script written by 4 women, one of whom being Spy Who Dumped Me director Susanna Fogel, the fashionably realistic costumes, the brilliant performances by a cast of fresh-faced newcomers, and endorsements from the likes of Ryan Reynolds and Aaron Paul, I was disheartened to find out that Booksmart underperformed at the box office in America.

I cannot express enough how much seeing films that don’t involve high impact action or crazy special effects at the cinema contributes to the recognition of other genres as valid within the industry. Particularly for female directors as well, who are only now slowly making their way into the million dollar budget club. Seeing films directed by women at the cinema is a tangible way to make studio heads shut up and listen.

Literally my only qualm with this film is that it made me feel that I had wasted my high school, and by extension university, life on too much study just like the main characters. The feeling of liberation that these two girls experience on their last night before graduation is so pure. Yes there are complications, but it wouldn’t be a movie about life if there wasn’t. It’s real, it’s hilarious, and it made my heart ache. Sounds like its worth a trip to the cinema to me.

Booksmart’s last session is sold out at this years Sydney Film Festival but the film opens in Australian cinemas on July 11th.

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