‘Booksmart’ Is a New Breed of High School Classic

Comedies about American teenagers are not all created equal, but they are certainly created similar. Timeless classics such as Clueless and poorly-aging hits like Easy A all share the same basic ingredients—outcasts, jocks, house parties, sex jokes, and One Last Night (or Day, or Week) to turn the tables and fight the powers that be. Yes, I just described genre as a whole—welcome to Much Ado’s Intro to Film, please have your books ready by Monday.

But like its title suggests, Booksmart already knows this history, and it won’t let that knowledge go to waste. By carefully choosing which tropes to play with and which to forgo, first-time feature director Olivia Wilde has accomplished the impossible: making the high school comedy fresh again. Funny, modern, and uniquely kind, Booksmart is a party film that, while not entirely free of formula, marks a new generation of movies about kids figuring out who they are and who they want to be—with the help of some drugs and a good time. Along with its inventive direction, pitch-perfect performances from Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever cement Booksmart as the movie of the summer, and cement the leads as comedy stars in the making.

Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever in ‘Booksmart’

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SXSW Film Festival ’18: ‘A Vigilante’ showcases the power of fighting back

This review is by our guest writer, Christina Huang.
Wow. I had no words after the screening for this was over. Sarah Daggar-Nickson’s directorial debut absolutely stuns. Olivia Wilde gives a truly phenomenal performance that showcases the hardships of leaving an abusive relationship and how we can use our suffering to help others. Although there were a few minor errors in terms of the narrative, the movie was beautiful, powerful, and most of all, eye-opening.
‘A Vigilante’ tells the story of Sadie (Olivia Wilde), a woman who rescues other women from their abusive relationships. The film opens with Sadie beating an abusive husband and forcing him into leaving his home and quitting his job. We quickly learn that Sadie herself has a tragic backstory. After she leaves her abusive husband, he comes close to killing her and completely shatters her life. Sadie attends a support group and by listening to stories from other women (played by actual domestic violence survivors), and realizes that she has to stand against this horrific abuse. She can no longer stand by and watch as other people endure the pain and misery from domestic violence.

Continue reading “SXSW Film Festival ’18: ‘A Vigilante’ showcases the power of fighting back”