Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Olivia Wilde|
|Music by||Dan the Automator|
|Distributed by||United Artists Releasing|
|Box office||$24.9 million|
Booksmart is a 2019 American coming-of-age comedy film directed by Olivia Wilde (in her feature directorial debut), from a screenplay by Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, and Katie Silberman. It stars Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever as two graduating high school girls who set out to finally break the rules and party on their last day of classes; Jessica Williams, Will Forte, Lisa Kudrow, and Jason Sudeikis also star. Will Ferrell and Adam McKay executive produced the film through Gloria Sanchez Productions.
The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 10, 2019, and was theatrically released by United Artists Releasing in the United States on May 24, 2019, to acclaim from critics and grossed over $24 million. For her performance, Feldstein was nominated for Best Actress – Comedy or Musical at the 77th Golden Globe Awards.
High school seniors Amy and Molly have been best friends since childhood, but are considered pretentious by their peers. Amy is out and has a crush on a girl named Ryan; Molly urges her to pursue a relationship with Ryan before they graduate. On the eve of graduation, Molly confronts classmates talking about her in the bathroom. She tells them she got into Yale, but they reveal that, despite their partying, they too got into prestigious colleges. Furious, Molly tells Amy they should have enjoyed their time in high school more. She proposes they go to a graduation party held by classmate Nick, and Amy reluctantly agrees.
Realizing that neither of them knows the party’s address, Molly calls Jared, a wealthy classmate who likes her. He brings them to his party aboard a yacht; only his drug-crazed friend Gigi is there, and she feeds the girls strawberries before jumping off the yacht. Amy suggests they go home, but Molly calls a "Malala" (their code for unconditionally doing what the other wants to do). The girls call a Lyft and are shocked to be picked up by their principal, Jordan Brown.
To prepare Amy for potential sex with Ryan, Molly insists they watch pornography, which accidentally plays through the car speakers. Brown drops them off at what they think is Nick's aunt's house but turns out to be the home of their classmate George, who is hosting a murder mystery party. They encounter Gigi, who reveals that the strawberries were laced with powerful hallucinogenic drugs. Amy and Molly experience a bad trip and hallucinate that they are George's sister's plastic fashion dolls. They manage to escape George's house, but Gigi reveals that Molly secretly likes Nick.
Despite wanting to go home, Amy insists they press on so Molly can consummate her crush on Nick. The girls head to the library, where they see pizza boxes in an online video of Nick’s party and acquire the address from the pizza delivery man. Amy accidentally leaves her phone in his car, and Molly's phone battery lasts just long enough to call their favorite teacher, Miss Fine, who gives them a change of clothes and a ride to Nick's party.
There, Amy finds Ryan making out with Nick. Heartbroken, she finds Molly and calls her own "Malala,” which Molly refuses, thinking she still has a chance with Nick. Amy angrily reveals that she is not just spending the summer in Botswana but taking an entire gap year there because she resents how Molly always tries to control her life.
The two friends argue in front of the entire party. Amy runs to the bathroom, finding her classmate Hope already there; they are initially combative until Amy kisses her. Jared appears, and he and Molly have a heartfelt conversation about how no one at school really knows them. Amy and Hope start to have sex, but Amy vomits on her. Cops arrive, and the party-goers scatter. Molly, unable to find Amy, is driven home by “Triple A,” a popular student with a promiscuous reputation, and they bond over the stereotypes they both have endured.
Waking up on graduation day, Molly checks her phone and discovers her classmates praising Amy for creating a diversion at the party, allowing everyone to escape the police while getting herself arrested. Molly visits Amy in jail and apologizes for her manipulative actions, and they reconcile. Learning the pizza delivery man is a serial killer, they trade that information to free Amy, and take Jared's car to graduation. Molly kisses Jared onstage and gives an improvised valedictorian speech, receiving a standing ovation.
A few days later, as Molly helps Amy prepare for her trip to Botswana, Hope visits to give Amy her phone number. Molly drives Amy to the airport, where they share a tearful goodbye. As Molly drives away, Amy jumps in front of her car, saying she has time to hang out before her flight; she suggests they get pancakes, and Molly ecstatically accepts.
- Beanie Feldstein as Molly Davidson
- Kaitlyn Dever as Amy Antsler
- Jessica Williams as Miss Fine
- Lisa Kudrow as Charmaine Antsler
- Will Forte as Doug Antsler
- Jason Sudeikis as Jordan Brown
- Billie Lourd as Gigi
- Diana Silvers as Hope
- Skyler Gisondo as Jared
- Molly Gordon as Annabelle, or "Triple A"
- Noah Galvin as George
- Austin Crute as Alan
- Victoria Ruesga as Ryan
- Eduardo Franco as Theo
- Nico Hiraga as Tanner
- Mason Gooding as Nick Howland
- Mike O'Brien as Pat the Pizza Guy
- Bluesy Burke as Cindy
- Christopher Avila as Rob
- Stephanie Styles as Alison
- Adam Simon Krist as Dick
- Gideon Lang as Skip
- Maya Rudolph as Motivational Voice
An early version of the screenplay, Book Smart by Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins, was circulated in 2009 and appeared on the 2009 Black List; in 2014 Susanna Fogel revised the screenplay, rewriting one lead character as a lesbian and revising the story so the girls are not seeking boyfriends for the prom, but are going to an after-prom party.
Following the revisions, Annapurna Pictures purchased the screenplay and approached Gloria Sanchez Productions to produce it; Gloria Sanchez' Jessica Elbaum pitched the screenplay to Olivia Wilde, who read the screenplay and two days later expressed admiration for it. Megan Ellison, Chelsea Bernard, David Distenfeld, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, and Elbaum would serve as producers on the film. Screenwriter Katie Silberman was hired for more revisions in spring 2018, and to update the story. Silberman explored a new concept:
What if the two friends realized that they did high school all wrong? What if they realized that everyone they thought just partied and wasted their high-school years were going to Ivy League schools just like them?
According to Silberman, "Olivia's mantra to all of us was that high school is war". Wilde also envisioned "a drug trip where the girls turned into Barbie dolls" and gave Silberman the responsibility of where to incorporate it into the story.
In February 2018, Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein joined the cast of the film. In May 2018, Billie Lourd and Skyler Gisondo joined the cast of the film. That same month, Jason Sudeikis, Lisa Kudrow, Jessica Williams, Will Forte, Mike O'Brien, Mason Gooding, Noah Galvin, Diana Silvers, Austin Crute, Eduardo Franco, Molly Gordon, and Nico Hiraga joined the cast of the film.
Silvers was initially asked to audition for Ryan, but felt her appearance was not ideal for the character and auditioned for Hope instead. Wilde also urged Feldstein and Dever to live together to develop a rapport. The two actresses were roommates in Los Angeles for ten weeks. Wilde also asked the cast to read the screenplay and signal if they found dialogue that felt "inauthentic ... [and] rewrite it in your own voice". Silberman continued to write after casting, finding it easy to come up with dialogue to fit Feldstein and Dever. Silberman particularly credited the complimentary language the characters use to Feldstein, who frequently posted "I have no breath" to Instagram.
In the United States and Canada, Booksmart was released alongside Aladdin and Brightburn, and was projected to gross around $12 million from 2,505 theaters in its four-day opening weekend. The film made $2.5 million on its first day, including $875,000 from Thursday night previews. It ended up underperforming, debuting to just $6.9 million (a four-day total of $8.7 million), finishing in sixth place. Industry publications insisted that although the targeted young female demographic did turn out to the film, it should have begun with a limited release and expanded, similar to the R-rated, female-led high school comedy Lady Bird in 2017, and that Booksmart failed to stand out in the crowded marketplace. In its second weekend the film made $3.3 million, dropping 52% and finishing in eighth.
The film's largest market outside North America was the United Kingdom, where it grossed around US$1.8 million (£1.5 million) after seven weeks in theaters.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 97% based on 341 reviews, with an average rating of 8.29/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Fast-paced, funny, and fresh, Booksmart does the seemingly impossible by adding a smart new spin to the coming-of-age comedy." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 84 out of 100, based on 51 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an overall positive score of 80%.
Peter Debruge of Variety praised the ensemble cast as well as Wilde's direction, calling the film "the best high school buddy comedy since Superbad". Writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, Richard Roeper gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, calling it a "refreshingly original take on the raunchy coming-of-age comedy" and praising Feldstein and Dever's chemistry. A. O. Scott of The New York Times gave the film a positive review, calling it "sharp but not mean, warm without feeling too soft or timid", and referring to Feldstein and Dever as "a classic comedy duo". Emily Yoshida of Vulture also gave the film a positive review, writing that it "manages to be inclusive and progressive, without being precious about anything or sacrificing an ounce of humor".
Alissa Wilkinson of Vox awarded the film a score of 4/5, writing that Booksmart feels memorable and relatable because it taps into the truth that "When you’re a teenager [...] your biggest enemy is usually yourself." NPR gave an especially favorable review saying "without a mean bone in its figurative body". Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal deemed Booksmart one of the top-ten films of the year, while Rotten Tomatoes named the film the No. 1 best comedy of the decade, using an adjusted formula that weighed multiple factors, including a film's release year and its number of reviews.
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref.|
|Austin Film Critics Association||January 6, 2020||Best First Film||Booksmart||Won|||
|British Academy Film Awards||February 2, 2020||Best Original Screenplay||Susanna Fogel, Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, and Katie Silberman||Nominated|||
|BAFTA Rising Star Award||Kaitlyn Dever||Nominated|
|Chicago Film Critics Association||December 14, 2019||Milos Stehlik Breakthrough Filmmaker Award||Olivia Wilde||Nominated|||
|Critics' Choice Awards||January 12, 2020||Best Comedy||Booksmart||Nominated|||
|Detroit Film Critics Society||December 9, 2019||Breakthrough||Kaitlyn Dever||Nominated[a]|||
|Dorian Awards||January 8, 2020||LGBTQ Film of the Year||Booksmart||Nominated|||
|Dublin Film Critics Circle||December 17, 2019||Best Film||Booksmart||5th place|||
|Best Director||Olivia Wilde||4th place|
|Best Screenplay||Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, and Katie Silberman||2nd place|
|GLAAD Media Awards||March 19, 2020||Outstanding Film – Wide Release||Booksmart||Pending|||
|Golden Globe Awards||January 5, 2020||Best Actress - Musical or Comedy||Beanie Feldstein||Nominated|||
|Gotham Independent Film Awards||December 2, 2019||Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award||Olivia Wilde||Nominated|||
|Hollywood Critics Association Awards||January 9, 2020||Best Picture||Booksmart||Nominated|||
|Best Original Screenplay||Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, and Katie Silberman||Nominated|
|Best Female Director||Olivia Wilde||Won|
|Best Performance by an Actor or Actress 23 and Under||Kaitlyn Dever||Won|
|Best First Feature||Booksmart||Nominated|
|Best Independent Feature||Booksmart||Nominated|
|Hollywood Film Awards||November 3, 2019||Hollywood Breakthrough Director Award||Olivia Wilde||Won|||
|Independent Spirit Awards||February 8, 2020||Best First Feature||Booksmart||Won|||
|IndieWire Critics Polls||December 16, 2019||Best Picture||Booksmart||18th place|||
|Best Actress||Beanie Feldstein||21st place|
|Best First Feature||Booksmart||2nd place|
|Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society||July 1, 2019||Best Picture||Booksmart||Won|||
|Best Actress||Beanie Feldstein||Runner-up|
|Best Supporting Actress||Billie Lourd||Won|
|Best Female Director||Olivia Wilde||Won|
|Best Original Screenplay||Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, and Katie Silberman||Won|
|Best Indie Film||Booksmart||Won|
|Online Film Critics Awards||January 6, 2020||Best Debut Feature||Olivia Wilde||Won|||
|Palm Springs International Film Festival||November 27, 2018||Directors to Watch||Olivia Wilde||Won|||
|San Francisco International Film Festival||April 24, 2019||Best Narrative Feature||Booksmart||Won|||
|St. Louis Film Critics Association||December 15, 2019||Best Original Screenplay||Booksmart||Nominated|||
|Women Film Critics Circle||December 9, 2019||Best Movie about Women||Booksmart||Nominated|||
|Best Movie by a Woman||Nominated|
|Best Woman Storyteller||Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, and Katie Silberman||Nominated|
|Best Equality of the Sexes||Booksmart||Nominated|
|Writers Guild of America Awards||February 1, 2020||Best Original Screenplay||Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, and Katie Silberman||Nominated|||
- Also for Them That Follow
- "Booksmart". South by Southwest. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
- Charles Barfield (June 2, 2019). "Sorry Folks, 'Booksmart' Was Set Up For Box Office Disappointment & Politicizing It Isn't Helping". The Playlist. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- "Booksmart (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
- "Booksmart (2019)". The Numbers. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
- Kimberly Nordyke; Jennifer Konerman; Annie Howard (December 9, 2019). "Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy - Golden Globes: Full List of Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter . Retrieved December 9, 2019.
- Zuckerman, Esther (May 9, 2019). "What It's Like Playing Mortal Enemies in 'Booksmart' for Three Real-Life Best Friends". Thrillist. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
- Peter Debruge (March 11, 2019). "'Booksmart' Review: The Best High School Buddy Comedy Since 'Superbad'". Variety. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
- Guerrasi, Jason (May 25, 2019). "How 'Booksmart' went from a 2009 script collecting dust to this year's must-see movie of the summer". Business Insider. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
- Gonzalez, Umberto (February 16, 2018). "Olivia Wilde to Make Feature Directing Debut With Booksmart". The Wrap. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
- Erbland, Kate (May 21, 2019). "How 'Booksmart' Writer Katie Silberman Turned a Beloved Years-Old Script Into the Movie of the Moment". Indiewire. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
- Cipriani, Casey. "How 'Booksmart' Writer Katie Silberman Captured The All-Out "War" That Is High School". Bustle. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
- Lindsay, Kathryn (May 28, 2019). "Booksmart's Screenwriter Katie Silberman May Be The New Rom-Com Queen". Refinery29. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
- Kroll, Justin (February 16, 2018). "Olivia Wilde Sets Directorial Debut Booksmart With Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein to Star". Variety. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
- Hixon, Michael (May 9, 2018). "Manhattan Beach's Skyler Gisondo from 'Santa Clarita Diet' to star in indie film". The Beach Reporter. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- Bentley, Jean (May 18, 2018). "Billie Lourd To Return To American Horror Story For Season 8, Joins Booksmart Movie". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
- Kroll, Justin (May 22, 2018). "Jason Sudeikis, Lisa Kudrow, Will Forte, Others Join Olivia Wilde's 'Booksmart' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
- Handler, Rachel (May 24, 2019). "Diana Silvers on Booksmart's Groundbreaking Sex Scene". Vulture.com. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
- Huver, Scott (May 14, 2019). "Why 'Booksmart' Stars Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever Moved In Together During Filming". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
- Kelly, Mary Louise (May 24, 2019). "'Booksmart' Director Olivia Wilde: Teen Movies 'Made Me Excited To Be Young'". NPR. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
- Silvers, Diana (May 1, 2018). "Sending endless love to the Booksmart peeps as they embark on week 1 of filming!! Can't wait to join you guys on set soon!! 🤩🤓 @BeanieFeldstein @KaitlynDever @oliviawilde ...and everyone else that I haven't met yet/don't know who's playing who 😬". Twitter.com. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
- Strauss, Bob (May 17, 2019). "The new movie 'Booksmart' was filmed in and around the San Fernando Valley. Here's where". Daily Mail. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
- Kilday, Gregg (January 16, 2019). "SXSW: Olivia Wilde, Seth Rogen, Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey to Premiere New Work". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
- Audra Schroeder (May 28, 2019). "The middling box office showing for 'Booksmart' isn't Netflix's fault". The Daily Dot.
- McCrae, Phil (August 5, 2019). "Booksmart Release Date". Retrieved August 5, 2019.
- "Booksmart (2019)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
- Jeremy Fuster (May 21, 2019). "Will 'Aladdin' Dodge the 'Blue Will Smith' Jokes and Find Box Office Riches?". TheWrap. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
- Anthony D'Alessandro (May 26, 2019). "'Aladdin' Memorial Day Magic Carpet Ride Soars Higher With $112M+ Opening – Sunday AM Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
- Mia Galuppo (May 29, 2019). "Box Office: 'Booksmart' Gambles With Wide Release and Stumbles". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
- Sharf, Zack; Sharf, Zack (28 May 2019). "'Booksmart' Box Office Struggle Divides Industry Over Annapurna's Marketing and Release Strategy".
- Anthony D'Alessandro (June 2, 2019). "'Godzilla' Loses Teeth With $49M Opening, But Counter-Programming Excels For First Time This Summer With 'Rocketman' & 'Ma'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- "'Spider-Man', 'Toy Story 4' stay top of UK box office as 'Annabelle Comes Home' lands third". Screen Daily. July 15, 2019.
- "Booksmart (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
- "Booksmart Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
- Roeper, Richard (May 21, 2019). "'Booksmart': The smart girls cut loose over one wild but insightful night of partying". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
- A. O. Scott (May 22, 2019). "Review: 'Booksmart' Crashes the Party and Aces the Test". The New York Times. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
- Emily Yoshida (May 24, 2019). "Booksmart Is a Goddamn Delight, and a Major Moment in the Teen Movie Canon". Vulture. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
- Alissa Wilkinson (May 24, 2019). "Booksmart review: Like Superbad, but with girls, and better". Vox.com. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
- Holmes, Linda. "'Booksmart' Is A Wise And Warm Summer Comedy". NPR.org. 2019 NPR. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
- "The Best Films of 2019: Movies That Make Moviegoing a Pleasure". The Wall Street Journal. December 10, 2019. Archived from the original on December 18, 2019. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
- "The 50 Best Comedies of the 2010s – Best Comedy Movies of the Decade". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
- Stoddard, Elizabeth (December 30, 2019). "2019 AFCA Award Nominations". Austin Film Critics Association. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
- Ritman, Alex (January 6, 2020). "'Joker' Leads BAFTA 2020 Nominations". Retrieved January 7, 2020.
- "Once Upoan a Time... in Hollywood Leads Chicago Film Critics Association 2019 Award Nominations". Chicago Film Critics Association Awards. December 12, 2019. Archived from the original on December 12, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
- "Chicago Film Critics Association". Chicago Film Critics Association. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
- "'When They See Us,' 'This Is Us,' 'Schitt's Creek' Lead 25th Annual Critics' Choice Awards TV Noms". December 9, 2019.
- The 2019 Detroit Film Critics Society (DFCS) Nominations
- "The 2019 Detroit Film Critics Society Awards". detroitfilmcritics.com. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
- "'Portrait of a Lady on Fire,' 'Parasite' Lead Dorian Award Nominations". TheWrap. January 3, 2020. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
- Neglia, Matt (December 17, 2019). "The 2019 Dublin Film Critics Circle (DFCC) Winners". Next Best Picture. Archived from the original on December 17, 2019. Retrieved December 26, 2019.
- Gardner, Chris; Howard, Annie (January 8, 2020). "GLAAD Media Awards: 'Booksmart,' 'Bombshell,' 'Rocketman' Among Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
- Golden Globes Nominations: ‘Marriage Story’, Netflix, ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’ Lead Way In Film – Full List Of Nominations
- Lewis, Hilary (October 24, 2019). "Gotham Awards: 'Marriage Story,' 'The Farewell,' 'Uncut Gems' Lead Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
- "The 3rd Annual Hollywood Critics Association Awards Nominations". Retrieved December 29, 2019.
- "Hollywood Film Awards 2019: The Complete Winners List". December 9, 2019.
- "The 2020 Film Independent Spirit Award Nominees are Here!". December 9, 2019.
- Kohn, Eric (December 16, 2019). "2019 Critics Poll: The Best Films and Performances According to Over 300 Critics From Around the World". IndieWire. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
- "The Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society 2nd Annual Midseason Award Winners". Retrieved December 29, 2019.
- Committee, Governing (January 7, 2020). "OFCS Presents: 23rd Annual Awards for 2019". Online Film Critics Society. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
- "Variety Names 10 Directors to Watch for 2019". December 9, 2019.
- "SFFILM Wraps 2019 San Francisco International Film Festival After 14 Days of Films, Conversations, and Celebrations". SFFILM. 2019-04-24. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
- "'1917', 'Once Upon a Time'… Dominate As More Critics Weigh In on 2019". December 15, 2019.
- "The 2019 Women Film Critics Circle (WFCC) Winners". Next Best Picture. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
- Lewis, Hilary; Sinha-Roy, Piya; Nordyke, Kimberly (January 6, 2020). "Writers Guild Awards: '1917,' 'Parasite,' 'Little Women' Among Film Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 7, 2020.