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Do Enjoy "Do Revenge"






I recently watched two films on Netflix concerning “friendships at odds,” the first, was Paul Feig’s adaptation of the YA book, The School for Good and Evil. I was excited by the allure of Charlize Theron as the leader of the “School for Evil,” but alas, the film proved to be pretty lackluster. The second movie I watched was Jennifer Kaytin Robinson’s Do Revenge, which proved to be much more entertaining. Do Revenge is a vengeance-driven friendship comedy starring Camila Mendes and Maya Hawke that owes as much of its DNA to the story “Strangers On A Train,” by Patricia Highsmith, as it does to several films of the eighties and nineties of similar ilk: Heathers, Clueless, Cruel Intentions, Jawbreaker and Mean Girls. The film revolves around Drea Torres, played by Mendes, and the aftermath of her sending her boyfriend a private nude video. Said video is circulated around her elite private school, Rosehill Country Day, and Drea loses her temper, punches her boyfriend, and becomes a social pariah. The film, however, is less 13 Reasons Why and more Dangerous Liaisons as Drea plots her revenge against her former boyfriend and friend group. In the process, she bonds with an unlikely ally, new student Eleanor (Hawke), who is also looking to exact revenge on a past flame who did her wrong. The two students decide to join forces to “do revenge” on each other’s targets and thus avoid blame. What makes Do Revenge so fun is its biting dialogue (frequently between Mendes and Hawke), along with its strong character performances. While the characters are often very mean to each other, they are also extremely self-aware which makes for a conundrum: do we feel any empathy towards any of them? Part of the reason why we might actually feel something is due to the cast’s strong performances.



Here are a few of the star performers of Do Revenge that I feel make the film worth watching. (I’ll try to keep this list mainly spoiler-free):





Camila Mendes


Frankly, casting Camila Mendes as the film’s main character is the main reason I wanted to watch this film in the first place. Mendes started out strong as Veronica on the CW’s Riverdale, but I found her to have less and less to do as the series progressed. I think she has a lot of charisma and potential to move from TV to a film career and I hope Do Revenge is only the beginning of that transition. As Drea, Mendes is our stand-in for Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink, with a touch of Cher Horowitz from Clueless thrown in for good measure. Drea studies hard, hoping to be accepted at Yale, and lives in a small house while her mother works nights, all the while, sewing her own stylish outfits from thrift store finds and leading her posse of friends at Rosehill with an iron fist. She’s sassy and funny but mainly, she’s feared. She and Max (Austin Abrams) are the power couple of the Rosehill popular crowd. Until they aren’t.





Maya Hawke


As Eleanor, Maya Hawke is the Veronica to Drea’s cadre of Heathers. Eleanor is endearing with a touch of “Glennergy” thrown in for good measure (watch the movie to understand). She’s up for the challenge of befriending Drea’s ex-cronies and infiltrating their group to take revenge on its leader Max. She takes Drea’s makeovers in stride, modeling some pretty ridiculous outfits along the way and never batting an eye as she wins over the Rosehill “it crowd.” The film’s costume (Alana Morshead) and production (Hillary Gurtler) design are exhilarating extremes that only add to the film’s enjoyment: bubble-gum pinks and pastel plaids make up the students’ uniforms as Eleanor rocks berets and bucket hats, making sassy comments and stealing hearts.





Talia Ryder


Talia Ryder plays Gabbi, the younger sister of our villain Max. She’s cool without trying too hard and is the first to welcome Eleanor long before any of her extreme makeovers. You may remember Ryder for her excellent performance in Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always and if not, check out my review here.





Rish Shah


Hot off of his role as Kamran on Ms. Marvel, Rish Shah continues to be, well, hot. This time he plays Russ, with blue hair! He and Drea dabble in a bit of anger management art therapy a la Ten Things I Hate About You that I won’t expound on here. Check it out.





Sophie Turner


Sansa Stark is in the house, friends, and she be crazy. That’s all I’ll say here.





Sarah Michelle Geller


Buffy’s back as the Headmaster of Rosehill Country Day School who attempts to guide Drea through the darkness of being 17 to channel her anger for good. Some of my favorite lines in the film are exchanges between Drea and Eleanor as they describe their infatuation with the Headmaster.





Austin Abrams


Austin Abrams is cringe-worthy as skeevy Max, the popular class president and fo-feminist lothario of Rosehill. He founds the “Cis Hetero Men Championing Women Identifying Students League,” in an attempt to appear as an “ally” while simultaneously reminding his classmates of Drea’s infamous video. Max and his friends use their new school organization to cover up their misdeeds against several of the school’s female students, including Drea. Abrams does such a good job as someone who could pass as sensitive and caring, while secretly being a major turd.





Oscar Winner Olivia Colman


No, unfortunately, no cameos are made by the fabulous Ms. Colman, but there’s still one unforgettable character in the film with her namesake. Enjoy.




So, while it's not perfect, Do Revenge is highly enjoyable with strong character performances and enough nods to some of the best teen films of the eighties and nineties that at the very least, it will make you nostalgic to watch one of those movies afterward. Maya Hawke and Camila Mendes are the best baddies one could ever wish for and I hope they will go on to star in more female-driven films in the future.





 



Diana DiMuro

Associate Editor

Besides watching TV and movies, Diana likes plants, the great outdoors, drawing and reading comics, and just generally rocking out. She has a BA in English Literature and is an art school dropout. You can follow her on Instagram @dldimuro and Twitter @DianaDiMuro


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