BOOKSMART – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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The next great high-school movie is here. And I do mean great. Booksmart is that rare treat: a perfect film. Smart, funny, wise, sparkling with wit both visually and in its snappy dialogue, and far, far kinder than we have been trained to expect from movies about teenagers. Or maybe Booksmart is simply an authentic reflection of These Kids Today. Are they really this nice? They make me feel old, but also my heart breaks for them in the best possible way.

I’m tempted to call Booksmart the new Clueless. This movie is emphatically not about romance, but there’s a lot of overlap anyway, in verve and style. And also in how this movie’s jointed-at-the-hip bestie protagonists, Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever), are — like Clueless’s Cher — sailing through high school on a wave of popularity that has felt like success to them, until they now come to realize that they have both overestimated their own triumphs and underestimated almost everything about their friends and classmates. Continue reading…

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MaryAnn Johanson

MaryAnn Johanson is a freelance writer on film, TV, DVD, and pop culture from New York City and now based in London. She is the webmaster and sole critic at, which debuted in 1997 and is now one of the most popular, most respected, and longest-running movie-related sites on the Internet. Her film reviews also appear in a variety of alternative-weekly newspapers across the U.S. Johanson is one of only a few film critics who is a member of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (the Webby organization), an invitation-only, 500-member body of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities. She is also a member of the Online Film Critics Society. She has appeared as a cultural commentator on BBC Radio, LBC-London, and on local radio programs across North America, and she served as a judge at the first Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Festival at the 2003 I-Con, the largest SF convention on the East Coast. She is the author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride, and is an award-winning screenwriter. Read Johanson's recent articles below. For her archive, type "MaryAnn Johanson" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).