Sunday, March 10, 2024


Movie Name:
Year of Release: 2023
Director: Emma Seligman
Starring: Rachel Sennot, Ayo Edebiri, Ruby Cruz, Havana Rose Liu, Kaia Gerber, Nicholas Galitzine, Miles Fowler, Marshawn Lynch, Dagmara Dominczyk, Punkie Johnson, Zamani Wilder, Summer Joy Campbell, Virginia Tucker, Wayne Pere, Toby Nichols, Cameron Stout
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review
Following her well received directorial debut, writer/director Emma Seligman is back, again with the collaboration of lead actress and co-writer Rachel Sennot. "Bottoms" follows the story of two best friends, PJ and Josie, both of whom are unpopular lesbians at their High School. They've never had sex and pine for popular cheerleaders Isabel and Brittany. They have an altercation with the popular jock Jeff at the local fair, where as a result he pretends to have been physically harmed. This spirals into a rumor that both girls were in Juvie during the Summer. When they get threaten with expulsion, they make up a story that whatever happened was just a warm up for a feminist self defense club they're planning on starting. They actually follow through with the club, with the help of the always helpful Hazel, though PJ and Josie are secretly hoping this gives them the opportunity to get closer to their crushes. In order to further give credibility to their club, they ask their checked out History teacher, Mr. G. to be their advisor. The club starts gathering more attendees, and the girls continue to cement the reputation of what supposedly happened during their time in Juvie. And while the brutal training continues, they do attract the attention of Tim, another jock who suspects that there's more to it than what PJ and Josie have been indicating. Everything comes to a halt when the club goes too far, with some vandalism included, which results in mutual accusations within the club members. However that's just the beginning of more issues they encounter.
"Bottoms" is, much like Olivia Wilde's "Booksmart", a fresh take on the high school experience, since it gravitates to a female point of view, with the added layer that its heroines are both gay and thankfully, quite unapologetic about it. It's a film that looks heads-on to the clichés of the high school comedy genre, and literally flips it, allowing for girls to take center stage, and be just as messy, horny, and with questionable decision making process, just like her male counterparts. With the slight difference, that these characters actually feel more relevant and authentic, more so than so many of the typical high school comedies. Both "Booksmart" and now "Bottoms" rest the architecture of their narrative on the dichotomy and yet complimentary traits of its central duo, and both also fail to address or give much for their supporting players to do, but in the case of "Bottoms" this fight club is both anarchic and quite funny, with plenty of physical comedy (brutal as well), thrown in for good measure. The script doesn't shy away from the awkwardness of these two best friends, and the fact that even though they're somewhat detached from reality at times, it still doesn't stop them from moving ahead with their plans (even if these plans take a life of their own it seems). All these pieces gel together, even if the film does adhere to some of the clichés, including the expected epiphany that their friendship was the glue keeping the club together, and that sometimes love does bloom where you least expect it. The cast is uniformly solid, easily playing off each other, particularly Rachel Sennot and Ayo Edebiri. The score from Charli XCX and Leo Birenberg is spot on, as is the cinematography from Maria Rusche. It's a funny film from a new directorial voice, worth following with attention.