Meewella | Critic

According to P

Tag: Beanie Feldstein

QuickView: Booksmart (2019)

“We haven’t done anything. We haven’t broken any rules.”


Generally speaking I am not a fan of reductive descriptions like “a female take on Superbad” but in the case of Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut the comparison is apt, not only in its comedic end-of-high-school blowout premise but also in its prevailing themes of identity, social awkwardness, teenage desperation, and friendships on the cusp of change. Leads Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein are believable as studious best friends approaching high school graduation and questioning their decision to focus solely on academic success. After seeing her performance, it was little surprise to discover that Feldstein is Jonah Hill’s younger sister, with obvious similarities in their delivery. Although the dialogue lacks the realism of The Edge of Seventeen, the light and witty script keeps things moving at pace. Of particular note is the film’s ability to flesh out a number of its supporting cast beyond their initial one-note stereotypes, paralleling Molly’s realisation that she has done her classmates a disservice by underestimating them. I fear limited marketing may hold Booksmart back on theatrical release but I expect it to find cult success in home viewing.


QuickView: Lady Bird (2017)

“I want you to be the very best version of yourself that you can be.”

Marion McPherson

An alternative coming-of-age film, the focus is Catholic high school girl Christine (who has adopted the name “Lady Bird”) and her turbulent relationship with her mother. This is an unusually well-realised mother/daughter relationship, in which they both know they love one another, yet their strong-willed personalities frequently grate. Saoirse Ronan deftly avoids portraying Lady Bird as quirky for its own sake, instead making it a believable element of her awkward teenage self-expression, whilst still anxious about the perception of her wealthier peers. Religion largely takes a back seat to the more human elements of the story, in what struck me as a female counterpoint to Richard Linklater’s films about male adolescence.


"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

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