Saturday, June 13, 2020
Booksmart: People like us
Sometimes you just want to indulge in stories that are full of basic human kindness and decency, because, despite appearances, there are a lot of people who are decent and kind out there. We don't all go Lord of the Flies or Mad Max when things get a bit rough, and sometimes we all pull together when the shit hits the fan, instead of try to kill each other.
That's why I adore stories that manage to create storytelling conflict without having people acting like complete arseholes all day long. Our lives are full of people who think like us and act like us, and they've got interesting stories to tell.
But I still wasn't expecting to find it in Booksmart, because it's a high school movie, and there are cliques and hormones and freedom and everything. And then they introduce a huge cast of characters and astonishingly, there are no dickheads. Some are a bit dumb or naive or insensitive, but nobody is straight-up mean, and everyone seems to largely get along with everybody else.
Many high schools aren't like this, and no high school movies are like this. But in Booksmart, conflict is created by time pressures and the main characters' burning desire to bust free for one night of debauchery, and that's all you need. You don't need anybody to be the asshole.
There are still good people out there. And some of them are still in our movies.