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The Next Reel • Season 11 • Series: Coming of Age Debuts • Booksmart (2019) d: Olivia Wilde


“I’m a golden starfish!”

Olivia Wilde has long been working as an actress before stepping her foot into directing. She made a few short films and music videos, then locked her sights on the Blacklist script Booksmart by Emily Halpern & Sarah Haskins. She had screenwriter Katie Silberman rework the script (that Susanna Fogel had already changed ) into something that painted the vision she was looking for, and off she went. The film, while not a runaway success that it should’ve been, still did well for itself and set Wilde up as a new director with a strong voice. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we conclude our Coming of Age Debuts series with Wilde’s 2019 film Booksmart.

We’re big fans of Booksmart.

While we graduated from high school a few years (read decades) before this film takes place, it’s impossible not to notice all the same personalities and groups. What makes these characters stand out so well? And how much do we identify with our two protagonists Molly and Amy (played brilliantly by Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever)?

The adults are interesting characters in the film, but what does it say that the one with the most time spent is Miss Fine? It’s fitting, considering her scenes together with our protags. And what do we learn about the complexities of people in general as we spend time with Jared, Annabelle, and Gigi?

The film stands as vibrant and alive. Wilde smartly uses slow motion in a few spots. How do those moments stand out and why those spots?

All in all, this may be the highlight of an absolutely brilliant series. We love it and hope you do too. Check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

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When the movie ends, our conversation begins.
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