Plot – A group of teenage girlfriends deal with their impending graduation from high school – Dude.
Director – Olivia Milch
Starring – Lucy Hale, Kathryn Prescott, Alexandra Shipp, Awkwafina
Released – 2018
For fans of: Lady Bird, Edge of Seventeen, Booksmart
Dude isn’t likely to win any awards for the originality of its plot, but I found it enjoyable nonetheless. Partly due to its fresh take on the experiences of a totally fresh take on being a girl coming to the end of her high school experience, but also some of the topics that they weren’t afraid to cover, including rape, drug use, death and growing apart from your childhood friends.
It was refreshing to see a group of diverse, confident, high achievers doing well in education, embracing their sexuality and don’t fall into boring stereotypes. The movie also benefits from thoroughly developed characters, with Lucy Hale’s character Lily being the one afforded the most screen-time and the closest thing to a protagonist the movie has, which would also explain why this is one of Hale’s best performances to date. That isn’t to say that the rest of the cast wasn’t given enough to work with, they were, it was just Mitch saw how Lily’s story was the most compelling of the group and went with it.
Now it’s safe to say, that the humour didn’t always land, mainly due to myself not being the film’s target audience, Oliva Miltch’s dialogue did seem to capture the attitude towards sex, drugs, education and relationships of modern teens, which might age the film when re-visited, nut, for now, feels fresh and witty. Dude also makes the most of some good supporting characters, with Jack McBrayer a former hippy turned teacher who tried to bond with the girls, and Brooke Smith as a mother dealing with the death of her son and trying not to let it affect her other children, and Alex Wolff playing a potential love interest/geek.
All in all, Dude is worth a watch, Milch gives the talented group of actresses plenty of room to have fun in their roles and while it’s certainly aiming at a specific audience, the inclusivity is handled in a way that suits the plot and feels planned and authentic, rather than an afterthought shoe-horned in by the studio or filmmakers as a way to score points following #OscarsSoWhite and #Metoo campaigns when they were rightfully called out for ignoring or avoiding certain demographics.