Every now and then, a comedy movie arrives that could seemingly define a generation, like The Breakfast Club or Sixteen Candles. These movies represent the current teenage population at their time in a way that most other movies cannot. Booksmart may just fit in the same category, having the potential to define the current teenage population for years to come. Though it may be a lot more raunchy than movies like Sixteen Candles, Booksmart still feels incredibly real and down to Earth, while still carrying enough lunacy to hold itself up as a hilarious comedy that almost anyone can enjoy.
Right in the first scene, Booksmart establishes itself both as a raunchy comedy with no limits, but also as a very real-feeling narrative that will go deep into its characters. The proceeding 100 minutes do not disappoint this promise. Almost every minute in Booksmart is laugh-out-loud hilarious, while still carrying thematic elements and tones that can resonate with viewers of all ages about friendship, self-esteem, empathy and sex.
One of the best elements of Booksmart is its ensemble cast. While the movie's stars Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein do a fantastic job at carrying the narrative, the show is regularly stolen by the wide variety of other actors in the movie. Some of the more well known faces in the cast pop in and out every now and then to share a bit of the spotlight, like Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte, but the lesser known actors playing the other high schoolers also do a phenomenal job at stealing the focus, both for comedic purposes and for surprisingly emotional purposes.
While at the beginning of the movie, almost every character seems cliche and one-dimensional, by the end, nearly every character we come across is revealed to have a deeper conflict and motivation. This is something that we rarely see in movies these days, especially comedies. While this often happens to the few lead characters in a movie, this movie neatly adds depth to practically every character who graces the screen, even the ones who just seemed like jokes at the beginning.
Another great quality of Booksmart that may be tough to catch in the first viewing is its cinematography, which takes risks and finds new clever ways to show how the characters are feeling using only angles and movement. The best example of this came during the third act break, which was all one incredibly long shot intricately moved through several rooms over the movie's most emotionally powerful scene. This was the moment where I realized that Booksmart was accomplished its goal of being more than just a comedy - it's a genuinely well made work of art with a lot of heart and skill put into it.
From beginning to end, Booksmart is a great movie, using comedy as a way to get into some truly important and real topics. Though many moments of the movie flirt on the edge of absurdity, the movie still manages to never stop feeling genuine. Whether you're up to laugh or up to cry, you are not going to want to miss this hilarious flick from United Artists Releasing. This is one movie that seemed to come out of nowhere, yet deserves more praise than most other blockbusters currently on the market today. 10/10.