There has been a very recent trend in the film industry of using social media topics as plots. Also, the trend of using terms that are real words, but only became a part of the average person’s vocabulary due to social media. Cis, hetero, misgendering, etc. are real words, and people use them when addressing real situations. The problem is, a lot of these filmmakers just seem like they are using these buzzwords specifically to attract a certain audience. There is no genuine meaning behind it other than “we want your money”. For the latest version of this scenario, see Netflix’s Do Revenge.
Do Revenge follows two teens Eleanor (Maya Hawke) and Drea (Camila Mendes). Drea is a student at a private school on a scholarship, and she’s pretty much the popular girl. She’s a child prodigy destined for greatness. All of that comes to an abrupt end when a video she made for her boyfriend Max (Austin Abrams) gets leaked. After believing that Max leaked the video himself, Drea leaves and goes to work at a tennis camp for the summer. At the tennis camp, she meets Eleanor, a girl who’s looking for revenge on her bully. The two girls agree to do each other’s revenge so no one catches them.
Writers Celeste Ballard and Jennifer Kaytin Robinson fill the movie with so many plot twists that I eventually lost count. The plot twists make the film fun though, and enjoyable. The dialogue is almost insufferable, unfortunately. Social dialogue and commentary are necessary for film, but there’s been a recent shift in the way people have those conversations. Social media is where a lot of writers seem to get their dialogue from. Slang, Ebonics, AAVE, etc. are all ways that filmmakers reach generations. This was just bad dialogue though. As much as I enjoyed the film, this truly felt like something two grown adults doing a poor impression of modern-day teenagers would write.
I do not want to diminish teen films or movies, nor YA adaptions. Most of them are not insufferable. Given that Netflix has a collection of these, most of them are great. Outer Banks, The Society, The Order, Cobra Kai, and Sabrina, are all well-written shows, and even The Kissing Booth can be included. This was just a buzzword fest dialogue that takes the movie down with it.
Jennifer Kaytin Robinson as a director is far superior to her as a writer. Robinson got some great content out of her cast and crew. The editing seems like something out of the 1985 Clue film. Lori Ball and David S. Clark’s editing was top-tier and help mend together a makeshift climax. Also, the addition of one of the original ‘teen movie’ stars Sarah Michelle Gellar was aesthetically pleasing, for the culture. The production designs were amazing, and the art design was crucial to the setting. This very much felt like a 90s teen movie with the dialogue of 2022 blended in.
Maya Hawke, we need more of her. Any time the film feels flat or as if it might go in a bad direction – such as the ending – Hawke saves the day. Mendes also gives a decent performance, along with Abrams, but Hawke is truly the standout. I would like to see her in more dramatic roles, or even in horror films as a villain in the future. There’s a lot to say about Hawke’s performance, and it’s all positive.
Overall, Do Revenge is a 90s teen movie revamped. I liked it for what it was, no matter how annoying I found the dialogue. The colors, the plot, the acting, and the cast all fit the aesthetic. It’s a fun film that gives us a coked-out Sophie Turner of all things! There’s an important conversation about misogyny and sexism there. It’s surface-level, but it shouldn’t be glossed over. Robinson gave us something entertaining, and in the streaming era, I appreciate it. – Rascal F. Kennedy
Rating – 6.5/10
Do Revenge is now streaming on Netflix.