Review: ‘Booksmart’ Reminds Us That Your Person Doesn’t Have To Be Your Romantic Soulmate | WBEZ
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‘Booksmart’ Reminds Us That Your Person Doesn’t Have To Be Your Romantic Soulmate

I may be a documented book nerd, but I’m definitely not a film critic. In fact, I maaaaybe watch a movie a month, at best.

So it’s with that caveat in mind that I’m naming Booksmart, a new movie starring Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein (which is also Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut), the BEST FILM OF 2019.

My reasons? It’s smart, fun, funny, a little raunchy, and it embraces so many gorgeous, gut-wrenching elements of what it means to be a smart, funny teenage girl.

But maybe the best thing Booksmart does? It reaffirms the idea that your main person in life, your “ride-or-die,” if you will, doesn’t have to be your romantic soulmate. And that you can have a main person — a BFF — without being co-dependent.

Booksmart is about how it’s OK to have different interests and how it’s OK if you’re not together all the time. You can still love the pants out of each other.

Here’s what Feldstein said about that idea when I spoke with her and Dever on this week’s episode of Nerdette:

“I always think that your friends are the first decision you make in your life that’s entirely yours. Your parents decide where you go to school, where you live, what your room looks like — like every single decision — what you’re eating, what you’re wearing. But when you’re young — young, you know, 3, 4, however old you are — you’re making this choice of like, ‘This is my buddy. This is my partner.’ And it’s such a small thing when you’re young, but to continue choosing that person year after year after year, and investing in them and committing to them and being willing to change alongside with them, I think is really profound. And I think Booksmart is such an examination and a celebration of that.”

The movie is rated R, but Dever said that hasn’t stopped parents from telling her, “I’m so happy that my daughters, my kids get to grow up on this movie and have this be their sleepover movie.”

“The conversations we have [in the movie] are real conversations that I have with my friends,” Dever said.

That’s because Booksmart is also about feminism, sexuality and dealing with high expectations. But while it explores serious and semi-serious ideas, the movie also manages to stay super fun, kind of like a bacon-wrapped brussel sprout.

I give it four out of four Gretas!

Click the “play” button above to listen to this episode of Nerdette podcast.

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