By Megan Bianco
Focus Features’ latest release — Cory Finley’s Thoroughbreds — seems to be really trying hard to be at hit with teenagers, as it is literally a teen movie. No surprise here, but the tone of the marketing, atmosphere and screenplay of the film is closer to cult hits like Heathers (1989), Cruel Intentions (1999) and Mean Girls (2004).
Two teenage girls played by Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy plot a murder for their own satisfaction while throwing out sarcastic one-liners. I totally get it as a one-time teenage girl who lived and breathed teen flicks when growing up. Finley’s movie looks exactly like the type of small-budget indie teen feature the 12-year-old me would secretly catch on cable when no one else was in the house. Because of VH1, HBO and Starz, I knew the existence of The Breakfast Club (1985), Heathers and Cruel Intentions, but I also knew of crap like Jawbreaker (1999), The Smokers (2000), Tart (2001) and every other try-hard R-rated flop starring Dominique Swain.
Thoroughbreds isn’t on the same level as the bombs I listed, but I can’t really say I thought it was as unique or intriguing as the classics we’re all familiar with. There is a line between being genuinely edgy and provocative, and coming across as just lame and offensive.
The most interesting aspect of Thoroughbreds for me is a jail bait theme with Anton Yelchin’s character that could easily have been condoned as in American Beauty (1999) or The Baby-Sitters Club (1995), but instead completely condemns the concept. So that was a little different than most teen movies. Another thing that occurred to me was this: I’ve finally reached the age where I’m just not that into teen movies anymore.
While they are one of my favorite sub-genres, I didn’t see anything new in Thoroughbreds. That isn’t the case, however, with the feedback I’ve seen from high school and college kids. So basically the film was a reminder that the audiences who most appreciate the latest teen movies are always going to be modern youth. And it’s also a reminder that I’m really feeling my age.
Megan Bianco is a Southern California-based movie reviewer and content writer with a degree from California State University Northridge.
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