After John Hughes' run of films in the mid-late '80s, very few filmmakers have been able to capture that late, great artist's ability to create authentic, timeless depictions of teen life. BOOKSMART feels like the modern successor to Hughes' work in its subversive take on a familiar story: two college-bound girls who aim to have one last wild night of partying before moving away. Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein's charming, down-to-earth lead performances mix perfectly with the insightful, wickedly funny screenplay (co-written by our guest, Susanna Fogel) and thrive under Olivia Wilde's confident direction. With its touching conclusion and some wild visual flourishes thrown in for good measure, BOOKSMART executes an impressive tonal balance and is a major step forward for inclusion in a typically heteronormative genre.
Susanna Fogel is a screenwriter and director best known for co-writing BOOKSMART (BAFTA, WGA nominations) and THE ADDAMS FAMILY 2 as well as executive-producing (and sometimes directing episodes of) THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT and CHASING LIFE, among others. For her work on THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT, she won a DGA Award and was nominated for an Emmy. She also directed the films LIFE PARTNERS (also co-wrote), THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME (also co-wrote), and CAT PERSON.