Review: ‘Do Revenge’ Proves That Revenge Is Sweet and Sour
They're so sick of seventeen.
A new film baby has been born! Congrats to Heathers (1988), Cruel Intentions (1999), Jawbreaker (1999) (and lowkey Mean Girls) for their love child Do Revenge! We’re grateful for this Netflix gem from writer Celeste Ballard (Space Jam: A New Legacy) and co-writer and director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson (Someone Great, Thor: Love and Thunder), that is full of style, humor, and twists. It’s hard to capture the (potentially problematic) magic of those movies, especially when you’re infusing a movie with a lot of ’90s flavor. And the film is packed with nods to the era, via the soundtrack and references. This movie got icon Sarah Michelle Gellar to step back into film. I’d gush about her role forever but then I’d get distracted.
Do Revenge is about well, revenge. Two girls, Drea (Camila Mendes) and Eleanor (Maya Hawke), at a prestige private school come together to take down shitty people in each other’s lives. It sounds so simple, but it’s absolutely not simple. There’s much more than what the trailer and synopsis might suggest. The connection between Drea and Eleanor is actually the most important part of the film. Of course, there’s side romance plots (let’s face it, we all wished the duo would get together). But as a viewer it’s obvious to see that what happens between them is what we’re meant to care about.
What the film captures so well is the ways in which teenage girls are pitted against each other, and how the culture hasn’t fully changed surrounding mean girl behavior (despite Mean Girls approaching its 20th anniversary). Internalized misogyny and the patriarchy continue to contribute to the toxic ugliness of girl-on-girl crime. Not to mention the major differences between the experiences of girls who are part of marginalized communities. Intersectionality does come up in this movie, and that’s something that isn’t always touched upon in the teen genre. Drea is a woman of color and even though Eleanor is a confirmed lesbian, she’s still a rich white girl.
As far as the performances go, Camila Mendes and Maya Hawke deliver. They own the comedic aspects of this film, as well as the serious moments. Maya has such a quirky and specific acting style that’s delightful to watch. And Camila has such a presence on screen that you forget she’s well known for Riverdale. Drea is chaotic and naturally us younger millennials as well as Gen Z will appreciate. Though we’re also reminded throughout the film that she’s been shitty, whether that be to fit in or otherwise, and the film takes you on a journey of her growth. Meanwhile, Eleanor is the lesbian disaster who has a lot of issues, which are explored in the film.
All in all, Do Revenge has pleasant cinematography, fabulous costume design, an on-point soundtrack, and minor characters (did I mention Sarah Michelle Gellar already?) that actually lend to the humor or story, while artfully capturing Gen Z. As much as we love the movies that inspired this, some aspects of them haven’t aged well. Do Revenge offers refreshing update on those fan-favorite films. If you’re looking to laugh and enjoy the duo of Camila Mendes and Maya Hawke in a dark comedy, then check this out!
Do Revenge is currently streaming on Netflix.
(featured image: Netflix)
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