Booksmart

Certificate: 15

Starring: Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Jessica Williams, Mason Gooding

Release date: 2019

5 out of 5

5

A comedy that is both hilarious and wonderfully bittersweet, Booksmart introduces us to teen best pals Molly (Feldstein) and Amy (Dever), who have spent their entire life at high school being studious while all the other kids were partying and drinking.

Horrified to discover that those same kids have got into great colleges despite their fun-loving lifestyles, Molly and Amy realise they should have worked less and played more so decide to cram four years of partying into one night, on the eve of their high school graduation. What could possibly go wrong?

Directed by actress Olivia Wilde (making her feature directing debut) and written by four talented women (Susanna Fogel, Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Katie Siberman), this brilliantly captures just what it is like being young, and awkward, and suddenly aware that you’re about to embark on adulthood without having a clue.

Wilde has said she was inspired by teen movies like The Breakfast Club, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Dazed And Confused andClueless, and this deserves to be grouped with those classics – perhaps with a little bit of Ferris Bueller’s Day Offthrown in. And it’s as good, and as quotable, as all of them.

Dever and Feldstein are superb – sad, warm and very believable best friends – and have great comic timing in some of the madder scenes, including a rib-achingly funny one where Molly and Amy get accidentally stoned. They have great support, too, from Williams as teacher Miss Fine, Lisa Kudrow and Will Forte as Amy’s parents, Billie Lourd as the spaced out Gigi, and Skyler Gisondo as geeky kid Jared.

Tying it together are Wilde’s smart directorial touches and tight pacing, and a gift for delivering funny, absurd and poignant moments with equal skill that will appeal not only to teens but anyone who remembers what it was like to be one. A joyful ode to teenage life that rings so true that you’ll wish you were best friends with Amy and Molly in real life.

Is Booksmart suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

This is a 15 certificate in the UK and an R rating in the US and is aimed at teens and adults, not younger viewers.

This is due to the following:

There are numerous references to drugs and sex, lots of swearing and scenes of drinking and drug use. The girls accidentally get stoned, and there is also a brief (mild) sex scene.

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